It is used in dating things such as bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers that were created in the relatively recent past by human activities.
Method of determining the age of a mineral that utilizes the damage done by the spontaneous fission of uranium-238, the most abundant isotope of uranium.
Materials that originally came from living things, such as wood and natural fibres, can be dated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 they contain.
For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.
One of the most frequent uses of radiocarbon dating is to estimate the age of organic remains from archaeological sites.
So, every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon-14 with its environment as long as it lives. The carbon in its body will remain until it decomposes or fossilizes.
By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in the organism, it's possible to work out how old it is.
This technique works well for materials up to around 50,000 years old.
How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?
What methods do they use and how do these methods work?