Yet few people know how radiometric dating works or bother to ask what assumptions drive the conclusions.
So let’s take a closer look and see how reliable this dating method really is.
Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.
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.
The atoms of each element may vary slightly in the numbers of neutrons within their nuclei.
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This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.
The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.
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.