What is radiometric dating and how is it used

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They can tell how old the uranium is because, all forms of uranium starts with 4.6 billion years of life. Carbon dating is radiometric dating, using the carbon 14 isotope. A half life means the time required for something to fall to half its initial value.

Carbon 14 is used for fossils of fairly recent origin, as it becomes less and less accurate beyond 10 half lives (about 50 thousand years). Any of the following can be used: the half-life, or the mean lifetime, or the decay constant. The original term was used by Ernest Rutherford's discovery of the principle in 1907 as "half life period," but was shortened to "half life,"…

Scientists date igneous rock using elements that are slow to decay, such as uranium and potassium.

Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on relative and absolute dating.

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The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements.

Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.

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