Carbon dating fossils for kids
In 1907 a large something from outer space destroyed thousands of acres of forest in Tunguska.
Scientist for the last hundred years have been searching for a crator or remnants of space rock.
More shocking is the fact that the microfossils in this sediment were dated to less than 7,000 years ago.
Numerous unpetrified dinosuar bones found in Mesozoic strata have been dated and average 31,000 radio carbon years old.
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 t = 18,940 years old Math Skills Using natural logs (loge or ln): Carrying all numbers to 5 significant figures, ln 30 = 3.4012 is equivalent to e3.4012 = 30 or 2.71833.4012 = 30 A formula to calculate how old a sample is by carbon-14 dating is: t = [ ln (Nf/No) / (-0.693) ] x t1/2 where ln is the natural logarithm, Nf/No is the percent of carbon-14 in the sample compared to the amount in living tissue, and t1/2 is the half-life of carbon-14 (5,700 years).
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Knowing this and an estimated amount of carbon-14 in the organism while alive can be used to determine the age of the fossil.
For a website with a simple calculator that computes this for you, see is the half-life of carbon-14 (5,700 years).