Definition of radiometric dating

definition of radiometric dating-18

Carbon, uranium and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating.

Each element is made up of atoms, and within each atom is a central particle called a nucleus.

If a scientist were to compute this, s/he would say…

two half-lives went by at a rate of 4.5 billion years per half-life; therefore, the sample is approximately 2 times 4.5 billion or 9 billion years old. So you see, Earth scientists are able to use the half-lives of isotopes to date materials back to thousands, millions and even to billions of years old.

Just as in the example with uranium, scientists are able to determine the age of a sample by using the ratios of the daughter product compared to the parent.