C-12 is stable, meaning it does not decay into other elements over time. It is formed when cosmic radiation strikes N-14 (Nitrogen), converting it into C-14, and it decays back into N-14, with a half-life of 5730 years, meaning that for any sample of C-14, half of it will decay back into N-14 every 5730 years.Carbon-14 is used to date dead plants and animals, because plants and animals incorporate C-14 into their bodies by eating, drinking, and breathing in an environment containing C-14.This element is locked in tiny zircons within the granite. While it stays within the zircon for a period of time, being a very small atom, helium escapes the zircon within a few thousand years.
Since Nitrogen gas makes up about 78 percent of the Earth's air, by volume, a considerable amount of Carbon-14 is produced.
N through β emission, the isotope has a very long half life (later found to be 5730 years).
This opened up new possibilities for using radioactive tracers to elucidate reaction mechanisms.
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