What radioisotope is used in geological dating


05-Apr-2017 10:46

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Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes.

Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.

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 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.

To conduct radioisotope dating, scientists evaluate the concentration of isotopes in a material.The New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford, suggested in 1905 that the exact age of a rock could be measured by means of radioactivity.For the first time he was able to exactly measure the age of a uranium mineral.So, researchers "normalize" the data by making a ratio with strontium-86, which is stable - meaning it doesn't decay over time.

So, researchers “normalize” the data by making a ratio with strontium-86, which is stable – meaning it doesn’t decay over time.

However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.



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