When did radiocarbon dating begin
Through photosynthesis carbon dioxide enters plants and algae, bringing radiocarbon into the food chain.Radiocarbon then enters animals as they consume the plants (figure 2).
With time, those sand grains fell to the bottom bowl, so the new number represents the carbon-14 atoms left in the mammoth skull when we found it.
Radiocarbon (carbon-14 or C) forms continually today in the earth’s upper atmosphere.
And as far as we know, it has been forming in the earth’s upper atmosphere at least since the Fall, after the atmosphere was made back on Day Two of creation week (part of the expanse, or firmament, described in Genesis 1:6–8). Cosmic rays from outer space are continually bombarding the upper atmosphere of the earth, producing fast-moving neutrons (sub-atomic particles carrying no electric charge) (figure 1).1 These fast-moving neutrons collide with nitrogen-14 atoms, the most abundant element in the upper atmosphere, converting them into radiocarbon (carbon-14) atoms.
To measure the rate of decay, a suitable detector records the number of beta particles ejected from a measured quantity of carbon over a period of time, say a month (for illustration purposes).
Since each beta particle represents one decayed carbon-14 atom, we know how many carbon-14 atoms decayed during that month.So if half the sand grains are in the top bowl and half in the bottom bowl, then 30 minutes has elapsed since the sand grains began falling.