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Radioactive and non-radioactive carbon dioxide mix throughout the atmosphere, and dissolve into the oceans.Through photosynthesis carbon dioxide enters plants and algae, bringing radiocarbon into the food chain.By comparing the surviving amount of carbon-14 to the original amount, scientists can calculate how long ago the animal died.Since the atmosphere is composed of about 78% nitrogen,2 a lot of radiocarbon atoms are produced—in total about 16.5 pounds (7.5 kg) per year.Since each beta particle represents one decayed carbon-14 atom, we know how many carbon-14 atoms decay during a month.
Knowing the number of atoms that decayed in our sample over a month, we can calculate the radiocarbon decay rate.
Thus it appears that God probably created those elements when He made the original earth.
In contrast, radiocarbon forms continually today in the earth’s upper atmosphere.
And as far as we know, it has been forming in the earth’s upper atmosphere since the atmosphere was made back on Day Two of Creation Week (part of the expanse, or firmament, described in Genesis 1:6–8). Cosmic rays from outer space are continually bombarding the upper atmosphere of the earth, producing fast-moving neutrons (subatomic particles carrying no electric charge) (Figure 1a).1 These fast-moving neutrons collide with atoms of nitrogen-14, the most abundant element in the upper atmosphere, converting them into radiocarbon (carbon-14) atoms.
CARBON-14 IS CREATED (Figure 1a): When cosmic rays bombard the earth’s atmosphere, they produce neutrons.