Problem with radioactive dating
The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.Organisms capture a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere when they are alive.By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be worked out, thereby giving an age for the specimen in question.
Although the time at which any individual atom will decay cannot be forecast, the time in which any given percentage of a sample will decay can be calculated to varying degrees of accuracy.
The time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is known as the half life of the isotope.
This is consistent with the assumption that each decay event is independent and its chance does not vary over time.
where is the half-life of the element, is the time expired since the sample contained the initial number atoms of the nuclide, and is the remaining amount of the nuclide.
Various geologic, atmospheric and solar processes can influence atmospheric carbon-14 levels.