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A method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it.
The amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products.
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.
So, if you know the radioactive isotope found in a substance and the isotope's half-life, you can calculate the age of the substance. Well, a simple explanation is that it is the time required for a quantity to fall to half of its starting value.
Elements occur naturally in the earth, and they can tell us a lot about our Earth's past.
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.
The use of radiometric dating was first published in 1907 by Bertram Boltwood and is now the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.
Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes.
The object's approximate age can then be figured out using the known rate of decay of the isotope.
Radiocarbon dating is one kind of radiometric dating, used for determining the age of organic remains that are less than 50,000 years old.