The time it takes for 14C to radioactively decay is described by its half-life. C has a half-life of 5,730 years. In other words, after 5,730 years, only half of the original amount of 14C remains in a sample of organic material.

## Why is the half-life of carbon-14 important?

Every 5,730 years, the radioactivity of carbon-14 decays by half. That half-life is critical to radiocarbon dating. Since carbon-12 doesnt decay, its a good benchmark against which to measure carbon-14s inevitable demise. The less radioactivity a carbon-14 isotope emits, the older it is.

## What do you mean by half-life of c14?

Carbon-14 has a 5,730 year half-life, meaning that every 5,730 years, about half of an artifacts C-14 will have decayed into the stable (non-radioactive) isotope nitrogen-14. Its presence in organic materials is the basis of radiocarbon dating to date archaeological, geological and hydrogeological samples.

## How many years does it take carbon-14 to completely decay?

5,730 years The time it takes for 14C to radioactively decay is described by its half-life. C has a half-life of 5,730 years. In other words, after 5,730 years, only half of the original amount of 14C remains in a sample of organic material. After an additional 5,730 years–or 11,460 years total–only a quarter of the 14C remains.