The half-life of radiocarbon (14C) is 5700 ± 30 yr, which makes it particularly useful for dating in archaeology.

## How long is radiocarbon dating?

C (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to approximately 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally make accurate analysis of older samples possible.

## Why is half-life important in radiocarbon dating?

Every 5,730 years, the radioactivity of carbon-14 decays by half. That half-life is critical to radiocarbon dating. Since carbon-12 doesnt decay, its a good benchmark against which to measure carbon-14s inevitable demise. The less radioactivity a carbon-14 isotope emits, the older it is.

## What is radiocarbon dating and what is the half-life of carbon-14?

Radioactive decay and detection By emitting an electron and an electron antineutrino, one of the neutrons in the carbon-14 atom decays to a proton and the carbon-14 (half-life of 5,700 ± 40 years) decays into the stable (non-radioactive) isotope nitrogen-14.