The isotope 146C has a half-life of 5,730 years. If a fossil is found to contain 1/64th the amount of carbon-14 as is typically found in a living plant or animal, how old is the fossil?
Half life of the isotope carbon-14 = T1/2 = 5730 years
Decay constant =
= 1.20968 x 10-4 years-1
Amount of carbon-14 found in a living plant or animal = N0
Amount of carbon-14 found in the fossil = N = N0/64
Age of the fossil = T
Taking natural log on both sides,
T = 34380 years
Age of the fossil = 34380 years
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