Application of isotopes in carbon dating

One isotope, carbon-14, is particularly useful in determining the age of once-living artifacts.

A tiny amount of carbon-14 is produced naturally in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, and living things incorporate some of it into their tissues, building up to a constant, albeit very low, level.

Using such methods, scientists determined that the age of the Shroud of Turin (Figure 15.3 “Shroud of Turin”; purported by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ and composed of flax fibres, a type of plant) is about 600–700 y, not 2,000 y as claimed by some.

Scientists were also able to use radiocarbon dating to show that the age of a mummified body found in the ice of the Alps was 5,300 y.

Radioactive isotopes have a variety of applications.

Eggs and some meat, such as beef, pork, and poultry, can also be irradiated.Shroud of Turin In 1989, several groups of scientists used carbon-14 dating to demonstrate that the Shroud of Turin was only 600–700 y.Many people still cling to a different notion, despite the scientific evidence.C-14 is used often in dating artifacts from humans.For determining age of fossils older than 60,000 years one uses a potassium-argon dating technique.

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