The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source (rā'dē-ō-mět'rĭk) A method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it.
This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.
Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.
Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.
These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).