Radiometric dating of rocks absolute age

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We can get absolute ages only if we have rocks from that surface.For others, all we are doing is getting a relative age, using things like the formation of craters and other features on a surface.On the other hand, the number of neutrons that can be contained in the nucleus can vary.When the number of neutrons is in balance with the number of protons (which does not necessarily means that the number of neutrons has to be exactly the same as the number of protons) then the atoms of a particular element is said to be stable.Carbon is unreactive with a number of common lab substances: sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, chlorine, or any of the alkalis.It does burn in oxygen, and if you can pass the combusted gas through limewater, the carbon dioxide will turn the limewater milky by producing calcium carbonate.

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For example: a carbon-14 atom (the "parent") emits radiation and transforms to a nitrogen-14 atom (the "daughter").

These are the surfaces that we can get absolute ages for.

For the others, one can only use relative age dating (such as counting craters) in order to estimate the age of the surface and the history of the surface.

Once the half life of an isotope and its decay path are known, it is possible to use the radioactive decay for dating the substance (rock) it belongs to, by measuring the amount of parent and daughter contained in the sample.

An important point is that we must have an idea of how much of the daughter isotope was in the sample before the decay started.

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