Radioactive decay and carbon dating

First discovered in the 18th century, uranium is an element found everywhere on Earth, but mainly in trace quantities.

In 1938, German physicists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann showed that uranium could be split into parts to yield energy.

The following material has been taken from a sheet entitled Several Faulty Assumptions Are Used in all Radiometric Dating Methods.

Natural uranium consists of three isotopes: uranium-238, uranium-235, and uranium-234. The nuclei of radioactive elements are unstable, meaning they are transformed into other elements, typically by emitting particles (and sometimes by absorbing particles).

Uranium-238 decays by alpha emission into thorium-234, which itself decays by beta emission to protactinium-234, which decays by beta emission to uranium-234, and so on.

The various decay products, (sometimes referred to as “progeny” or “daughters”) form a series starting at uranium-238.

Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.

The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.

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