What is the source of carbon-14 in our environment? Why do all living organisms contain a uniform amount of carbon-14?
Here, we are going to discuss about the source of carbon-14 in our environment. Also, we are going to discuss why all living organisms contain a uniform amount of carbon-14.
Carbon-14 is mainly formed by the bombardment of molecules of gas in the earth’s atmosphere by the cosmic rays. This results in the formation of free neutrons which then combine with nitrogen-14 atoms to become carbon-14.
Nitrogen-14 + Neutron → Carbon-14 + Proton
N + n → C + H
The carbon-14 formed, is oxidized quickly to form carbon dioxide(CO2). The carbon dioxide molecules containing these carbon-14 are mixed together with the other carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere. These are then, used by the plants during photosynthesis to produce sugars. Animals eat plants and so those carbon-14 atoms get spread in the living things in the same proportions.
Thus, all living organisms contain a uniform amount of carbon-14.