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Radiometric age dating methods wiki

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Radiometric dating often called radioactive dating is a way to find out how old something is. The method compares the amount of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, in samples.

The method uses known decay rates. It is the main way to learn the age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself.

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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.

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Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts. Radiometric dating methods are used to establish the geological time scale.

All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elementseach with its own atomic numberindicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus. Elements exist in different isotopeswith each isotope of an element differing in the number of neutrons in the nucleus. A particular isotope of a particular element is called a Radiometric age dating methods wiki. Some nuclides are naturally unstable.

That is, at some point in time, an atom of such a nuclide will spontaneously change into a different nuclide by radioactive decay.