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Free 5-day trial Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes.
At high geomagnetic latitudes, the carbon-14 spreads evenly throughout the atmosphere and reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide also permeates the oceans, dissolving in the water.
Plants take in atmospheric carbon dioxide by photosynthesis, and are ingested by animals.
So, every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon-14 with its environment as long as it lives. The carbon in its body will remain until it decomposes or fossilizes.
For this reason radiocarbon dating is of more interest to archaeologists than to geologists.
Two effects also interfere with the dating of very recent samples.
In other words, we have a ‘clock’ which starts ticking at the moment something dies.
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In fact, the whole method is a giant ‘clock’ which seems to put a very young upper limit on the age of the atmosphere.