Question: How do scientists use half-life and radiocarbon dating?

Every 5,730 years, the radioactivity of carbon-14 decays by half. That half-life is critical to radiocarbon dating. Since carbon-12 doesnt decay, its a good benchmark against which to measure carbon-14s inevitable demise. The less radioactivity a carbon-14 isotope emits, the older it is.

How do scientists use the information from a half-life to determine the age of a rock sample or fossil?

Radiometric dating measures the proportion of decay products of radioisotopes with known half-lives to estimate absolute age.

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