What is an isotope and how is it used in radiometric dating
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Most absolute age determinations in geology rely on radiometric methods. The earth is billions of years old. The main condition for the method is that the production rate of isotopes stays the same through ages, i.
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As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 79, lessons in math, English, science, history, and more., Radiometric dating , radioactive dating or radioisotope dating is a technique which is used to date materials such as rocks or carbon , in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.
8.4 Isotopic Dating Methods
Originally fossils only provided us with relative ages because, although early paleontologists understood biological succession, they did not know the absolute ages of the different organisms. It was only in the early part of the 20th century, when isotopic dating methods were first applied, that it became possible to discover the absolute ages of the rocks containing fossils. In most cases, we cannot use isotopic techniques to directly date fossils or the sedimentary rocks they are found in, but we can constrain their ages by dating igneous rocks that cut across sedimentary rocks, or volcanic ash layers that lie within sedimentary layers. Isotopic dating of rocks, or the minerals in them, is based on the fact that we know the decay rates of certain unstable isotopes of elements and that these rates have been constant over geological time.
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