Radiocarbon dating organic materials

For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.The deeper layers are older than the layers found at the top, which aids in determining the relative age of fossils found within the strata. Such index fossils must be distinctive, globally distributed, and occupy a short time range to be useful.

At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.

The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.

Stratigraphy is the science of understanding the strata, or layers, that form the sedimentary record.

Strata are differentiated from each other by their different colors or compositions and are exposed in cliffs, quarries, and river banks.

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