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After an organism dies, the radiocarbon decreases through a regular pattern of decay. The time taken for half of the atoms of a radioactive isotope to decay in Carbon-14’s case is about 5730 years.
Half-lives vary according to the isotope, for example, Uranium-238 has a half-life of 4500 million years where as Nitrogen-17 has a half-life of 4.173 seconds!
Radiocarbon is produced in the upper atmosphere after Nitrogen-14 isotopes have been impacted by cosmic radiation.
Radiocarbon is then taken in by plants through photosynthesis, and these plants in turn are consumed by all the organisms on the planet.
So every living thing has a certain amount of radiocarbon within them.
In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.
Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise.
Carbon-14 dating, also called radiocarbon dating, method of age determination that depends upon the decay to nitrogen of radiocarbon (carbon-14).