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When carbon-14 falls to Earth, it is absorbed by plants.
These plants are eaten by animals who, in turn, are eaten by even larger animals.
When the organism dies, the supply stops, and the carbon-14 contained in the organism begins to spontaneously decay into nitrogen-14.
The time it takes for one-half of the carbon-14 to decay (a period called a half-life) is 5,730 years.
Dendrochronology: Also known as tree-ring dating, the science concerned with determining the age of trees by examining their growth rings.
Half-life: Measurement of the time it takes for one-half of a radioactive substance to decay.
These include the uranium-thorium method, the potassium-argon method, and the rubidium-strontium method. Thermoluminescence (pronounced ther-moeloo-mi-NES-ence) dating is very useful for determining the age of pottery.