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These excited neutrons then collide with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere, changing them into radioactive carbon-14 atoms.

CARBON-14 IS ABSORBED (Figure 1b): Plants absorb this carbon-14 during photosynthesis.

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The amount of carbon-14 in the atomosphere is, on an average, relatively constant.

Plants take in carbon-14 through the process of photosynthesis.

Carbon-14 dating relies on the following assumptions: It is known that the radiocarbon content of the atmosphere has varied in the past, so the initial activity of carbon-14 has NOT been a constant.

In contrast, radiocarbon forms continually today in the earth’s upper atmosphere.Many people assume that rocks are dated at “millions of years” based on radiocarbon (carbon-14) dating. The most well-known of all the radiometric dating methods is radiocarbon dating. Carbon-14 can yield dates of only “thousands of years” before it all breaks down.Although many people think radiocarbon dating is used to date rocks, it is limited to dating things that contain the element carbon and were once alive (like fossils).Rb)—are not being formed on earth, as far as we know.

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Some materials that do not contain carbon, like clay pots, can be dated if they were fired in an oven (burnt) and contain carbon as a result of this.

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