And then either later in this video or in future videos we'll talk about how it's actually used to date things, how we use it actually figure out that that bone is 12,000 years old, or that person died 18,000 years ago, whatever it might be. So let me just draw the surface of the Earth like that. So then you have the Earth's atmosphere right over here. And 78%, the most abundant element in our atmosphere is nitrogen. And we don't write anything, because it has no protons down here. And what's interesting here is once you die, you're not going to get any new carbon-14. You can't just say all the carbon-14's on the left are going to decay and all the carbon-14's on the right aren't going to decay in that 5,730 years.It's just a little section of the surface of the Earth. And that carbon-14 that you did have at you're death is going to decay via beta decay-- and we learned about this-- back into nitrogen-14. So it'll decay back into nitrogen-14, and in beta decay you emit an electron and an electron anti-neutrino. But essentially what you have happening here is you have one of the neutrons is turning into a proton and emitting this stuff in the process. So I just said while you're living you have kind of straight-up carbon-14. What it's essentially saying is any given carbon-14 atom has a 50% chance of decaying into nitrogen-14 in 5,730 years.Radiocarbon dating is one such type of radiometric dating.A process for determining the age of an object by measuring the amount of a given radioactive material it contains.
For organic materials, the comparison is between the current ratio of a radioactive isotope to a stable isotope of the same element and the known ratio of the two isotopes in living organisms.This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.However, the crater number relation must be calibrated against something with a known age.To measure the passage of long periods of time, scientists take advantage of a regularity in certain unstable atoms.