What is radioactive dating of rocks

Posted by / 15-Feb-2015 19:50

Radioactive dating uses the decay rates of radioactive substances to measure absolute ages of rocks, minerals and carbon-based substances, according to How Stuff Works.

Scientists know how quickly radioactive isotopes decay into other elements over thousands, millions and even billions of years.

Radiocarbon dating was invented in the 1940s by Willard F. Radioactive dating is used in research fields, such as anthropology, palaeontology, geology and archeology.

These were once molten lavas that were successively erupted onto the earth’s surface through volcanic vents and fissures and flowed over already deposited layers of siltstones.

This process begins as soon as a living thing dies and is unable to produce more carbon-14.

Plants produce carbon-14 through photosynthesis, while animals and people ingest carbon-14 by eating plants. Scientists determine the ages of once-living things by measuring the amount of carbon-14 in the material.

Scientists calculate ages by measuring how much of the isotope remains in the substance.

A half-life measures the time it takes for one half of a radio isotope's atoms to break down into another element.

For biological objects older than 50,000 years, scientists use radioactive dating to determine the age of rocks surrounding where the material was found.

By dating rocks, scientists can approximate ages of very old fossils, bones and teeth.

For instance, if an object has 50 percent of its decay product, it has been through one half-life.

A popular way to determine the ages of biological substances no more than 50,000 years old is to measure the decay of carbon-14 into nitrogen-14.

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They quickly hardened into the dense, black rock called basalt .

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