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Geologists draw on it and other basic principles ( to determine the relative ages of rocks or features such as faults.

Relative age dating also means paying attention to crosscutting relationships.

Since then, the remains of those trees have been well preserved by the arid climate. To determine how long ago these droughts occurred, Scott is using carbon-14 to date the trees.

Unlike the other natural isotopes of carbon, carbon-14 is unstable. One of its neutrons turns into a proton and spits out an electron.

Find out what it means for an isotope to be radioactive and how the half-life of carbon-14 allows scientists to date organic materials. But about one percent of carbon atoms have an extra neutron, giving them seven. Over the millennia, the water level has risen and fallen, as the area has cycled between wet periods and dry times. During times when the climate was dry, Mono Lake dropped down, exposed the shore lands, and allowed trees and shrubs to grow.

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Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.The technique used is called carbon dating and in this lesson we will learn what this is and how it is used. Carbon dating, or radiocarbon dating, is a method used to date materials that once exchanged carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. In the late 1940s, an American physical chemist named Willard Libby first developed a method to measure radioactivity of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope.Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in 1960.Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.technology columnist David Pogue explores how isotopes of carbon can be used to determine the age of once-living matter. The difference between them is the number of neutrons in the nucleus.

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