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Plants obtain all their carbon atoms from the atmosphere.

Thus, the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in a living plant is the same as the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere at any given time.

This ratio is the same for all organisms across the globe at a given time due to the mixing of the atmosphere mentioned above.

When an organism dies (whether plant or animal) its intake of carbon atoms ceases.

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The half-life of uranium-238 is 4500 million years.This calibration step eliminates any concern about fluctuations in historic radiocarbon to stable carbon ratios or decay rates.Radiocarbon dating is a valuable tool to chronologists and archaeologists.After about 50,000 years, the radiocarbon concentration remaining is too small to be measured for the purpose of radiocarbon dating. This is necessary to remove errors in raw radiocarbon dates caused by fluctuations in the amount of radiocarbon in the atmosphere in the past.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.

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