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It is even used to make black ink for printers and painting.Graphite is often used in making batteries, brakes, and lubricants.(This, in turn, is caused by variations in the magnetic fields of the earth and sun, for example.) Although the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere has varied over time, it is quite uniform around the globe at any given time because the atmosphere mixes very quickly and constantly.Plants obtain all their carbon atoms from the atmosphere.One of the key characteristics of carbon is its ability to make long chains of molecules through linking up with other carbon atoms. It is a major element in many rock formations such as limestone and marble.Carbon also has the highest melting point of all the elements. It is found in its allotropic forms of diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon throughout the world. Carbon is used in some way in most every industry in the world.Thus the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in living animal tissue is also virtually the same as the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in the atmosphere at any given time.This ratio is the same for all organisms across the globe at a given time due to the mixing of the atmosphere mentioned above.

Hydrocarbons that form many fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum also contain carbon. It is used to make all sorts of materials including plastics and alloys such as steel (a combination of carbon and iron).Radiocarbon dating works by precisely measuring the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon in a sample. The tree-ring chronologies have been constructed by counting the annual rings in living trees and matching patterns in these rings to older wood and dead trees.By cross-matching tree-ring sequences in individual specimens a long, continuous tree-ring chronology is constructed with very little dating uncertainty. for more information on tree-ring chronologies.) By measuring radiocarbon concentrations in these tree-rings of known age a calibration table is constructed giving the true date of a sample versus its raw radiocarbon date.Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass and the second most abundant element in the human body.Carbon is constantly cycled through the Earth's oceans, plant life, animal life, and atmosphere. Characteristics and Properties Carbon is found on Earth in the form of three different allotropes including amorphous, graphite, and diamond.

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