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Carbon-14 is continually being created in the atmosphere due to the action of cosmic rays on nitrogen in the air.
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Because plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, this isotope ends up inside the plant, and because animals eat plants, they get some as well.
When a plant or an animal dies, it stops taking in carbon-14.
These two uranium isotopes decay at different rates. The half-life of the uranium-238 to lead-206 is 4.47 billion years.
The uranium-235 to lead-207 decay series is marked by a half-life of 704 million years.
When the isotope is halfway to that point, it has reached its half-life.
There are different methods of radiometric dating that will vary due to the type of material that is being dated.
For example, uranium-lead dating can be used to find the age of a uranium-containing mineral.
It works because we know the fixed radioactive decay rates of uranium-238, which decays to lead-206, and for uranium-235, which decays to lead-207.
With radiocarbon dating, the amount of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 is measured.