Dating techniques in geology rate my mate dating
These rates of decay are known, so if you can measure the proportion of parent and daughter isotopes in rocks now, you can calculate when the rocks were formed.
Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.
For example, the decay of potassium-40 to argon-40 is used to date rocks older than 20,000 years, and the decay of uranium-238 to lead-206 is used for rocks older than 1 million years.
Radiocarbon dating measures radioactive isotopes in once-living organic material instead of rock, using the decay of carbon-14 to nitrogen-14.
The atoms of some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.
These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.
This document is partly based on a prior posting composed in reply to Ted Holden.