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This carbon dioxide rapidly mixes throughout the atmosphere, where at ground level it is taken in by plants during photosynthesis.
This process is constantly ongoing, so that at any point in time the amount of carbon-14 in living plants is the same as the amount of carbon-14 in the air around them.
A reaction occurs and a tiny number of these collisions convert nitrogen to carbon-14.
Carbon-14 originates in the upper atmosphere of the earth and is created when neutrons originating from solar radiation bombardment collide with nitrogen in the air.
Carbon is the basis of life and is present in all living things.
Radiocarbon, or carbon-14 (also written as C), is an isotope of carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive.
Although carbon-14 is radioactively decaying away in the body, it is constantly being replaced by new photosynthesis or the ingestion of food, leaving the amount relatively constant.
When a plant stops assimilating carbon dioxide or when an animal or human being stops eating, the ingestion of carbon-14 also stops and the equilibrium is disrupted.