Carbon 14 or radiocarbon dating
Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.This procedure of radiocarbon dating has been widely adopted and is considered accurate enough for practical use to study remains up to 50,000 years old. Carbon dating has a certain margin of error, usually depending on the age and material of the sample used.
The amount of carbon-14 decreases relative to the amount of normal carbon.A very small percentage of carbon, however, consists of the isotope carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which is unstable.Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5,780 years, and is continuously created in Earth's atmosphere through the interaction of nitrogen and gamma rays from outer space.Radiocarbon dating uses the naturally occurring isotope Carbon-14 to approximate the age of organic materials. Often, archaeologists use graves and plant remains to date sites.Since its conception by Willard Libby in 1949, it has been invaluable to the discipline.