Radioactive carbon dating formula

The formula for calculating the time elapsed from the beginning of the decay process to the current moment, or a chosen moment in the future, relative to the beginning of the decay is calculated using the formula: where t is the elapsed time, t.

Let us say that you have a sample that you want to carbon date.

Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology and even biomedicine.

Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.

As you can see, conversion between these three is fairly trivial mathematically, and our decay calculator will handle it for you.

For example, knowing that the half-time of carbon-14 is about 5730 years (t = 5,730 years), and knowing that it is constantly produced in the atmosphere and consequently incorporated in plant matter during photosynthesis, you can measure the time since a living organism was alive and the current time fairly accurately for periods up to 50,000 years.

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