The other two isotopes in comparison are more common than carbon-14 in the atmosphere but increase with the burning of fossil fuels making them less reliable for study (2); carbon-14 also increases, but its relative rarity means its increase is negligible. After this point, other Absolute Dating methods may be used.Today, the radiocarbon-14 dating method is used extensively in environmental sciences and in human sciences such as archaeology and anthropology.There are three carbon isotopes that occur as part of the Earth's natural processes; these are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.
In 1979, Desmond Clark said of the method “we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation” (3).
Part of the result of these collisions is the production of radiocarbon (C, pronounced "c fourteen"), carbon atoms which are chemically the same as stable carbon, but have two extra neutrons.
Radiocarbon is not stable; over time radiocarbon atoms decay into nitrogen atoms.
Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food.
Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases.