Question: How often does carbon 14 decay in radiocarbon dating?

Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years—i.e., half the amount of the radioisotope present at any given time will undergo spontaneous disintegration during the succeeding 5,730 years.

Does carbon-14 fully decay?

The time it takes for 14C to radioactively decay is described by its half-life. After an additional 5,730 years–or 11,460 years total–only a quarter of the 14C remains.

How quickly does radiocarbon decay?

C (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to approximately 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally make accurate analysis of older samples possible.

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