How to use carbon 14 dating
Naturally occurring graphite occurs in two forms, alpha and beta.
These two forms have identical physical properties but different crystal structures.
Carbon dating is somewhat accurate because we are able to determine what the ratio was in the unobservable past to a certain extent.
By taking a carboniferous specimen of known age (that is, a specimen which we are able to date with reasonable certainty through some archaeological means), scientists are able to determine what the ratio was during a specimen's lifetime.
This black soot, also known as lampblack, gas black, channel black or carbon black, is used to make inks, paints and rubber products.
It can also be pressed into shapes and is used to form the cores of most dry cell batteries, among other things.
Since atmospheric carbon 14 arises at about the same rate that the atom decays, the Earth's levels of carbon 14 have remained constant.
Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.
Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.
In living organisms, which are always taking in carbon, the levels of carbon 14 likewise stay constant.
But in a dead organism, no new carbon is coming in, and its carbon 14 gradually begins to decay.