Radioactive decay and fossil dating

Rated 3.88/5 based on 541 customer reviews

Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes.Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.With radiocarbon dating, the amount of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 is measured.Compared to some of the other radioactive isotopes we have discussed, carbon-14's half-life of 5,730 years is considerably shorter, as it decays into nitrogen-14.And this would also include things like trees and plants, which give us paper and cloth.

radioactive decay and fossil dating-37

radioactive decay and fossil dating-38

Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.For example, how do we know that the Iceman, whose frozen body was chipped out of glacial ice in 1991, is 5,300 years old?Well, we know this because samples of his bones and hair and even his grass boots and leather belongings were subjected to radiocarbon dating.

Leave a Reply