Carbon 14 dating for kids

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Relative age dating also means paying attention to crosscutting relationships.Say for example that a volcanic dike, or a fault, cuts across several sedimentary layers, or maybe through another volcanic rock type.Scientists in the fields of geology, climatology, anthropology, and archaeology can answer many questions about the past through a technique called radiocarbon, or carbon-14, dating.One key to understanding how and why something happened is to pinpoint when it happened.Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.The narrower a range of time that an animal lived, the better it is as an index of a specific time.

A type of carbon called carbon-14 decays after an organism dies, so by measuring how much of it is remaining in a dead organism, scientists can figure out how old the organism is. We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities.To determine the relative age of different rocks, geologists start with the assumption that unless something has happened, in a sequence of sedimentary rock layers, the newer rock layers will be on top of older ones. This rule is common sense, but it serves as a powerful reference point.Geologists draw on it and other basic principles ( to determine the relative ages of rocks or features such as faults.Carbon-14 is a radioactive form of carbon, which sounds scary, but it's not dangerous, it just means that it's not stable, so after an organism dies, carbon-14 decays or goes away.Scientists know how fast carbon-14 decays, so by measuring how much of it is remaining in a dead organism, they can figure out how long it has been dead.

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