Radioactive isotopes radiometric dating example introduction email for online dating
Radiocarbon dating measures radioactive isotopes in once-living organic material instead of rock, using the decay of carbon-14 to nitrogen-14.
Because of the fairly fast decay rate of carbon-14, it can only be used on material up to about 60,000 years old.
Some measure the decay of isotopes more indirectly.
For example, fission track dating measures the microscopic marks left in crystals by subatomic particles from decaying isotopes.
Others measure the subatomic particles that are emitted as an isotope decays.
This belief in long ages for the earth and the existence of life is derived largely from radiometric dating.
These long time periods are computed by measuring the ratio of daughter to parent substance in a rock and inferring an age based on this ratio.
Geologists use radiocarbon to date such materials as wood and pollen trapped in sediment, which indicates the date of the sediment itself.
The table below shows characteristics of some common radiometric dating methods.
Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.