Definition for radioactive dating

Contamination from outside, or the loss of isotopes at any time from the rock's original formation, would change the result.It is therefore essential to have as much information as possible about the material being dated and to check for possible signs of alteration.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. It is the main way to learn the age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself.For organic materials, the comparison is between the current ratio of a radioactive isotope to a stable isotope of the same element and the known ratio of the two isotopes in living organisms.Radiocarbon dating is one such type of radiometric dating.

Elements exist in different isotopes, with each isotope of an element differing in the number of neutrons in the nucleus.

The method works best if neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product enters or leaves the material after its formation.

Anything which changes the relative amounts of the two isotopes (original and daughter) must be noted, and avoided if possible.

The amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products.

Radiocarbon dating is one kind of radiometric dating, used for determining the age of organic remains that are less than 50,000 years old.

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