Absolute dating volcanic ash layers

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By looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing fairly precisely. So, if you had a fossil that had 10 percent carbon-14 compared to a living sample, then that fossil would be: t = [ ln (0.10) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ (-2.303) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ 3.323 ] x 5,700 years Because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5,700 years, it is only reliable for dating objects up to about 60,000 years old.However, the principle of carbon-14 dating applies to other isotopes as well.

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­ ­As soon as a living organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon.

Coatings result from the wide variety of reactions and/or processes that occur at the interface between the lithosphere and the biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.

Such coatings are biochemically, mineralogically, and isotopically complex and have the potential to record changes in their immediate environment.

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