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Carbon-14 is continually being created in the atmosphere due to the action of cosmic rays on nitrogen in the air.Carbon-14 combines with oxygen to create carbon dioxide.For example, uranium-lead dating can be used to find the age of a uranium-containing mineral.It works because we know the fixed radioactive decay rates of uranium-238, which decays to lead-206, and for uranium-235, which decays to lead-207.Because plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, this isotope ends up inside the plant, and because animals eat plants, they get some as well.When a plant or an animal dies, it stops taking in carbon-14.Try it risk-free Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes.

So, radiocarbon dating is also useful for determining the age of relics, such the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.So, we start out with two isotopes of uranium that are unstable and radioactive.They release radiation until they eventually become stable isotopes of lead.With radiocarbon dating, the amount of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 is measured.Compared to some of the other radioactive isotopes we have discussed, carbon-14's half-life of 5,730 years is considerably shorter, as it decays into nitrogen-14.

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