The barrel represents the earth's atmosphere in which the carbon-14 accumulates.
We feel a responsibility to make sure readers of this site go away with factual, truthful information, and this requires a frank correcting of some prevalent misinformation.Back in the 1940s, the American chemist Willard Libby used this fact to determine the ages of organisms long dead.Most carbon atoms have six protons and six neutrons in their nuclei and are called carbon 12. But a tiny percentage of carbon is made of carbon 14, or radiocarbon, which has six protons and eight neutrons and is not stable: half of any sample of it decays into other atoms after 5,700 years.So by measuring carbon 14 levels in an organism that died long ago, researchers can figure out when it died.The procedure of radiocarbon dating can be used for remains that are up to 50,000 years old.
A form of radiometric dating used to determine the age of organic remains in ancient objects, such as archaeological specimens, on the basis of the half-life of carbon-14 and a comparison between the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in a sample of the remains to the known ratio in living organisms. A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.