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Math Help - Carbon dating problem

  1. #1
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    Carbon dating problem

    Charcoal collected from a cave at an archaeological site is characterized by an average of 0.97 disintergrations of radioactive carbon-14 per minute per gram. Living wood is characterized by an average of 6.68 disintergrations of carbon-14 per minute per gram. The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5700 years. Estimate the date of occupation of the cave.
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  2. #2
    Grand Panjandrum
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    Quote Originally Posted by zcus05 View Post
    Charcoal collected from a cave at an archaeological site is characterized by an average of 0.97 disintergrations of radioactive carbon-14 per minute per gram. Living wood is characterized by an average of 6.68 disintergrations of carbon-14 per minute per gram. The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5700 years. Estimate the date of occupation of the cave.
    The number of disintegrations per min/gm is:

    r=(6.68)\times2^{-t/5700}\ \ \ ... (1)

    Where $$ t is measured in years since the wood lived.

    So if the rate is now $$ r you need to solve $$ (1) for $$ t


    CB
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  3. #3
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    Thanks a bunch, I think I was trying to over-think it
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