updating views in visual c - Additional information needed for carbon dating
Remember, once C-14 is produced, it immediately begins to decay, so C-14 is decaying at the same time it is being made.
When the production rate and the decay rate are equal, the amount of C-14 will be constant. It is possible to measure the rate of production and the rate of decay quite accurately.
C-14, however, is unstable and begins changing immediately after it is formed.
The C-14 is measured and compared to the amount assumed to have been present when it was alive.
If there is half as much C-14 as estimated when it was alive, it is said to have been 5,730 years since it died.
All living things, directly or indirectly, absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The carbon absorbed is both C-12 and C-14 and it is absorbed at the same ratio as it exists in the atmosphere.
Once an organism dies, it stops taking in carbon-14.