Start Dating method based on rate of decay of radioactive isotopes

Dating method based on rate of decay of radioactive isotopes

By establishing geological timescales, radiometric dating provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and rates of evolutionary change, and it is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.

These radioactive elements constitute independent clocks that allow geologists to determine the age of the rocks in which they occur.

Its crust is continually being created, modified, and destroyed.

As a result, rocks that record its earliest history have not been found and probably no longer exist.

Raw (i.e., uncalibrated) radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" (BP), with "present" defined as CE 1950.

Such raw ages can be calibrated to give calendar dates.

Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life of 5,730 years, meaning that the fraction of carbon-14 in a sample is halved over the course of 5,730 years due to radioactive decay to nitrogen-14.

The carbon-14 isotope would vanish from Earth's atmosphere in less than a million years were it not for the constant influx of cosmic rays interacting with molecules of nitrogen (N) into organic compounds during photosynthesis, the resulting fraction of the isotope 14C in the plant tissue will match the fraction of the isotope in the atmosphere.

Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.