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It takes another 5,730 for half of the remainder to decay, and then another 5,730 for half of what's left then to decay and so on.The period of time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is called a "half-life." Radiocarbon oxidizes (that is, it combines with oxygen) and enters the biosphere through natural processes like breathing and eating.

However, there is strong evidence which suggests that radioactive decay may have been greatly accelerated in the unobservable past.

We must also assume that the ratio of C-12 to C-14 in the atmosphere has remained constant throughout the unobservable past (so we can know what the ratio was at the time of the specimen's death).

This man-made fluctuation wasn't a natural occurrence, but it demonstrates the fact that fluctuation is possible and that a period of natural upheaval upon the earth could greatly affect the ratio.

Volcanoes spew out CO which could just as effectively decrease the ratio.

Specimens which lived and died during a period of intense volcanism would appear older than they really are if they were dated using this technique.