Carbon dating related words for children
Some chemical elements have more than one type of atom. However, it is also used to determine ages of rocks, plants, trees, etc. Isotopes are different atoms of the same element.
While on a hike, a couple from Germany found what is now referred to as the Iceman. Carbon is an element that is found in every living thing on planet Earth. We use carbon, as every living being has carbon. Carbon is a radioactive form of carbon, which sounds scary, but it's not dangerous, it just means that it's not stable, so after an organism dies, carbon decays or goes away. Carbon dating is a way of telling the age of a once living thing by measuring the amount of carbon inside of it.
They use a method called carbon dating. When scientists chipped the Iceman out of the block of ice he was found in, they tested his body to see how many carbon atoms were remaining, which told them his age. So, every living thing is constantly exchanging carbon with its environment as long as it lives.
Carbon exists in different forms. There are some carbon particles in the atmosphere. So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon. The answer is carbon dating.
Carbon has a relatively short half-life of years, meaning that the amount of carbon in a sample is halved over the course of years due to radioactive decay. In this lesson you'll learn about carbon dating and how it works. Once a being dies, however, this exchange stops. Carbon dating was such an important discovery that American scientist Willard Libby won the top science award called the Nobel Prize for discovering it. The carbon in its body will remain until it decomposes or fossilizes.
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