Carbon dating decay constant

A time-independent level of C14 activity for the past is assumed in the measurement of a CRA.

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Aon is the activity in counts per minute of the modern standard, Asn is the equivalent cpm for the sample. A CRA embraces the following recommended conventions: correction for sample isotopic fractionation (delta C13) to a normalized or base value of -25.0 per mille relative to the ratio of C12/C13 in the carbonate standard VPDB (more on fractionation and delta C13); Three further terms are sometimes given with reported radiocarbon dates. All are expressed in per mille notation rather than per cent notation (%).

All D14C values are normalized to the base value of -25.0 per mille with respect to the standard carbonate (VPDB).

D14C is calculated using: Figure 1: Decay curve for C14 showing the activity at one half-life (t/2).

The terms "%Modern", or "pm C" and D14C are shown related in this diagram along with the Radiocarbon age in years BP (Before 1950 AD).

If the reservoir corrected conventional radiocarbon age calculated is within the past 200 years, it should by convention be termed 'Modern' (Stuiver and Polach, 192).

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