The method works best if neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product enters or leaves the material after its formation.
Anything which changes the relative amounts of the two isotopes (original and daughter) must be noted, and avoided if possible.
Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.
The methods work because radioactive elements are unstable, and they are always trying to move to a more stable state. This process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation is called radioactive decay.
Radiocarbon dating is one kind of radiometric dating, used for determining the age of organic remains that are less than 50,000 years old.
For inorganic matter and for older materials, isotopes of other elements, such as potassium, uranium, and strontium, are used.
Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson. As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows.
A method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it.
Plotting an isochron (straight-line graph) is used to solve the age equation graphically.
It shows the age of the sample, and the original composition.
It may be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.
Fossils may be dated by taking samples of rocks from above and below the fossil's original position.