Validity and accuracy of carbon dating the cost effectiveness of fluoridating water supplies in new zealand
Measuring the ratio of C14 to C12 and C13 therefore dates the organic matter for periods back to about eight half-lives of the isotope, 45,000 years.
After a long enough time the minority isotope is in an amount too small to be measured.
C14 is continually being created and decaying, leading to an equilibrium state in the atmosphere.
When the carbon dioxide, containing C14 as well as stable C12 and C13, is taken in by plants it is no longer exposed to the intense cosmic ray bombardment in the upper atmosphere, so the carbon 14 isotope decays without being replenished.
Some radiometric dating methods depend upon knowing the initial amount of the isotope subject to decay.There are about two dozen decay pairs used for dating.