Graph of radiocarbon dating
As the number of protons decides the chemical nature of an atom, the atom now behaves like a carbon atom.
However, because it has too many neutrons for the number of protons it contains, it is not a stable atom.
Every 5,730 years, approximately half of this radioactive carbon spontaneously converts itself back into nitrogen by emitting an electron from a neutron.
As you might guess, radioactive carbon (C) is quite rare.
Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, which may sound like a large number.
The carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants, and the plants are eaten by animals, thus contaminating every living thing on earth with radioactive carbon. As time passes, the C14 in its tissues is converted back into nitrogen. What effect would the declining strength of the earth's magnetic field and a catastrophic worldwide flood have on radiocarbon dates?The radioactive carbon has six protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus, giving it a total atomic mass of 14.It follows that the older a date is, even within this 'limit', the greater are the doubts about the date's accuracy.PROBLEMS WITH RADIOCARBON DATING During the last 30 years, a new method of determining C14/C12 ratios has been developed.