Dating at middle age
Where t is the age of the fossil (or the date of death) and ln() is the natural logarithm function.
If the fossil has 35% of its carbon 14 still, then we can substitute values into our equation.
In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.
This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.
Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.
The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.
Here are some general guidelines to help determine the age range of your post card.
Does your card have the words "Private Mailing Card, Authorized by Act of Congress on May 19, 1898" on the back?
If the amount of carbon 14 is halved every 5,730 years, it will not take very long to reach an amount that is too small to analyze.So, the fossil is 8,680 years old, meaning the living organism died 8,680 years ago.Do you have an old postcard and curious about its age?What I didn’t anticipate was the reaction when people found out what I was doing.I’d meet someone, start chatting, and eventually they would ask, ‘What are you up to?