The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.
The resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.
Perhaps no concept in science is as misunderstood as "carbon dating." Almost everyone thinks carbon dating speaks of millions or billions of years.
But, carbon dating can't be used to date either rocks or fossils.
(These include the variety of elements used in ‘standard’ radioisotope dating, mature uranium radiohalos and fission track dating.) It would be hard to imagine that geologic processes alone could explain all these.
Rather, there was likely to be an answer that concerned the nuclear decay processes themselves.
The changing ratio of C-12 to C-14 indicates the length of time since the tree stopped absorbing carbon, i.e., the time of its death.
the pattern was caused by the way the magma was emplaced or how it crystallized. But Drs Humphreys and Baumgardner realized that in other cases there were many independent lines of evidence that suggested that huge amounts of radioactive decay had indeed taken place.
Carbon normally occurs as Carbon-12, but radioactive Carbon-14 may sometimes be formed in the outer atmosphere as Nitrogen-14 undergoes cosmic ray bombardment.
The resulting C-14 is unstable and decays back to N-14 with a measured half-life of approximately 5,730 years.
There must have been speeded-up decay, perhaps in a huge burst associated with Creation Week and/or a separate burst at the time of the Flood.
There is now powerful confirmatory evidence that at least one episode of drastically accelerated decay has indeed been the case, building on the work of Dr Robert Gentry on helium retention in zircons.