By Grade Level Elementary School. PhET is supported by.
Sample Learning Goals Explain the concept of half-life, including the random nature of it, in terms of single particles and larger samples. Teacher Tips Overview of sim controls, model simplifications, and insights into student thinking PDF.
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Potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating
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Chemistry Physics Earth Science. Earth Science Other Chemistry Physics. Where does C Come From? Radiocarbon dating relies on a simple natural phenomenon. As the Earth's upper atmosphere is bombarded by cosmic radiation, atmospheric nitrogen is broken down into an unstable isotope of carbon - carbon 14 C The unstable isotope is brought to Earth by atmospheric activity, such as storms, and becomes fixed in the biosphere.
Because it reacts identically to C and C, C becomes attached to complex organic molecules through photosynthesis in plants and becomes part of their molecular makeup.
Animals eating those plants in turn absorb Carbon as well as the stable isotopes. This process of ingesting C continues as long as the plant or animal remains alive. C Decay Profile The C within an organism is continually decaying into stable carbon isotopes, but since the organism is absorbing more C during its life, the ratio of C to C remains about the same as the ratio in the atmosphere.
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When the organism dies, the ratio of C within its carcass begins to gradually decrease. That is the half-life of C The animation provides an example of how this logarithmic decay occurs. Click on the "Show Movie" button below to view this animation.