Radiocarbon dating diamonds - RADIOCARBON Home Page


An isotope is what scientists call two or more forms of the same element. If you could peer at the atoms of two different isotopes, you’d find equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in the atoms’ nucleus or core.

The different isotopes of carbon do not differ appreciably in their chemical properties. This resemblance is used in chemical and biological research, in a technique called carbon labeling : carbon-14 atoms can be used to replace nonradioactive carbon, in order to trace chemical and biochemical reactions involving carbon atoms from any given organic compound.

The carbon-14 method was developed by the American physicist Willard F. Libby about 1946. It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old. The method is widely used by Pleistocene geologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and investigators in related fields.


Radiocarbon dating diamonds

Radiocarbon dating diamonds