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It would take an additional 5,730 years for the 50 pounds to decay to only 25 pounds, and so on, halving the amount of C-14 every 5,730 years.When C-14 is formed, it begins to break down into nitrogen as it loses an electron from the nucleus.If there is half as much C-14 as estimated when it was alive, it is said to have been 5,730 years since it died.Now, this is based on “knowing” how much C-14 is in the atmosphere when a sample is alive.Notice that something must have been alive to absorb C-12 and C-14.
All living things, directly or indirectly, absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The carbon absorbed is both C-12 and C-14 and it is absorbed at the same ratio as it exists in the atmosphere.
Once a living thing dies, it stops absorbing both C-12 and C-14.
C-14 is constantly being produced when cosmic rays strike the upper atmosphere.
Cosmic rays hit gasses in the upper atmosphere and knock off neutrons.
How could scientists know how much C-14 was being absorbed 10,000 years ago?