CARBON DATING

is based on the rate of decay of the radioactive or unstable carbon isotope 14 (14C) formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons upon nitrogen 14. The reaction is:

14N + n => 14C + p

where n is a neutron and p is a proton

AFTER DEATH, 14C => 14N + electron

SO THE AMOUNT OF CARBON-14 DECREASES WITH TIME

AND TELLS WHEN DEATH OCCURRED