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Radiocarbon dating works by precisely measuring the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in a sample. The tree-ring chronologies have been constructed by counting the annual rings in living trees and matching patterns in these rings to older wood and dead trees.
The atmosphere contains many stable carbon atoms and relatively few radiocarbon atoms.
Isotopes There are two stable naturally occurring isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13.
Carbon-12 makes up almost 99% of the carbon found on Earth.
One of the key characteristics of carbon is its ability to make long chains of molecules through linking up with other carbon atoms. It is a major element in many rock formations such as limestone and marble.
Carbon also has the highest melting point of all the elements. It is found in its allotropic forms of diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon throughout the world. Carbon is used in some way in most every industry in the world.