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It is literally able to count carbon-14 atoms one at a time.3 This machine can theoretically detect one radioactive carbon-14 atom in 100 quadrillion regular carbon-12 atoms! AMS instruments need to be checked occasionally, to make sure they aren’t also “reading” any laboratory contamination, called background.So rock samples that should read zero are occasionally placed into the instruments to test their accuracy.
This is, of course, consistent with masses of pre-Flood vegetation being swept away and buried on a huge scale globally during the cataclysmic Genesis Flood.
The carbon-14 so produced decays by β-decay back into nitrogen-14.
This decay process follows a mathematical rule, depending on the length of the so-called half-life. After yet another 10 minutes, there would be just 12.5g left.
In carbon, the main isotopes have mass numbers of 12, 13 and 14 respectively.
There is little of interest in what is by far the most common and stable kind, carbon-12.