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Carbon combines with other elements in complex ways to form the molecules that make up our bodies.Most carbon on Earth is not radioactive, but a very small percentage is.The carbon in their bodies at the time of their death will remain in their bodies until they decompose, or if they become fossilized, then forever. This allows scientists to look at the amount of decay in a fossil’s radioactive carbon and determine a relative date.Radiocarbon dating is only effective for objects and fossils that are less than 50,000 years old.

Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a way to find out how old something is.

The amount of carbon-14 gradually decreases through radioactive beta decay with a half-life of 5,730 years.

So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.

However, it is also used to determine ages of rocks, plants, trees, etc. When the sun’s rays reach them, a few of these particles turn into carbon 14 (a radioactive carbon).

The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 9 to 15 km (30,000 to 50,000 ft).

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Elements occur naturally in the earth, and they can tell us a lot about our Earth's past.

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