Dating uses the properties of atoms
Libby estimated that the radioactivity of exchangeable carbon-14 would be about 14 disintegrations per minute (dpm) per gram of pure carbon, and this is still used as the activity of the modern radiocarbon standard.
In 1960, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work.
It is typically released to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide at BWRs, and methane at PWRs., radioactive carbon dioxide.
Production rates vary because of changes to the cosmic ray flux caused by the heliospheric modulation (solar wind and solar magnetic field), and due to variations in the Earth's magnetic field.The latter can create significant variations in The New Zealand curve is representative for the Southern Hemisphere, the Austrian curve is representative for the Northern Hemisphere.Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests almost doubled the concentration of The above-ground nuclear tests that occurred in several countries between 19 (see nuclear test list) dramatically increased the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere and subsequently in the biosphere; after the tests ended, the atmospheric concentration of the isotope began to decrease, as radioactive CO2 was fixed into plant and animal tissue, and dissolved in the oceans.One of the frequent uses of the technique is to date organic remains from archaeological sites.Plants fix atmospheric carbon during photosynthesis, so the level of C level for the calculation can either be estimated, or else directly compared with known year-by-year data from tree-ring data (dendrochronology) up to 10,000 years ago (using overlapping data from live and dead trees in a given area), or else from cave deposits (speleothems), back to about 45,000 years before the present.