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Living organisms contain the same ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 as the atmosphere.This meant that animals and plants living in the 1950s and 1960s contained much higher amounts.
Because the time it takes to convert biological materials to fossil fuels is substantially longer than the time it takes for its in the atmosphere, which attained a maximum in 1963 of almost twice what it had been before the testing began.The carbon-14 bomb spike has helped researchers to date Antarctic mosses (pictured above), trees and may be useful for dating human remains, such as teeth, to help identify victims of homicide or mass disasters. The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.Carbon-14 is continually produced in the upper atmosphere as neutrons, which are by-products of cosmic rays, and is then absorbed by nitrogen atoms.Carbon-14 atoms react with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, and carbon-14 is incorporated into the food chain when plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.
Above-ground nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s resulted in a dramatic increase of carbon-14 in the atmosphere. Nuclear tests released lots of neutrons into the atmosphere.