Welcome to the K12 section of the Radiocarbon WEBinfo site.
Because carbon is very common on Earth, there are alot of different types of material which can be dated by scientists.
Below is a list of the different kinds of materials which can be dated: Libby tested the new radiocarbon method on carbon samples from prehistoric Egypt whose age was known.
You can work out that after about 50 000 years of time, all the radiocarbon will have gone.
Therefore, radiocarbon dating is not able to date anything older than 60 or 70 000 years old.
The half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half the radiocarbon in a sample of bone or shell or any carbon sample to disappear.
Libby found that it took 5568 years for half the radiocarbon to decay.
The C14 method has been and continues to be applied and used in many, many different fields including hydrology, atmospheric science, oceanography, geology, palaeoclimatology, archaeology and biomedicine.
All plants and animals on Earth are made principally of carbon.
Libby later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 for the radiocarbon discovery.