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.However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.
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Free 5-day trial Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes.
Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old.
After all, textbooks, media, and museums glibly present ages of millions of years as fact.
Each chemical element, such as carbon and oxygen, consists of atoms.
Each atom is thought to be made up of three basic parts.
For geological purposes, this is taken as one year.
PART 1: Back to Basics PART 2: Problems with the Assumptions PART 3: Making Sense of the Patterns This three-part series will help you properly understand radiometric dating, the assumptions that lead to inaccurate dates, and the clues about what really happened in the past.
The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.
By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.
The thing that makes this decay process so valuable for determining the age of an object is that each radioactive isotope decays at its own fixed rate, which is expressed in terms of its half-life.