# Chronological dating techniques

Jul 19, 2020
Earth sciences in 🍃 nat

It is extraordinary that we've found a way to figure out the age of materials. I'm noting a few techniques that I encountered while reading and will update when I find newer ones.

Organic materials containing carbon can be dated via this method. $^{14}C$ is a mild radioactive isotope that accumulates in a dead organism. $^{14}C$ is naturally created in the atmosphere by the interaction of nitrogen with cosmic rays. The decay of radioactive material is described by half-life - the time required for a material to be reduced to half of its initial value. The half-life of $^{14}C$ is about 6000 years. Owing to this, there is a limit to how far back we can reliably date using this method (50,000 years in this case).