Radiometric dating wikipedia the encyclopedia

The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5,730 years. Since the quantity represents 13% (or 13/100ths) of , it follows that This is based on the decay of rubidium isotopes to strontium isotopes, and can be used to date rocks or to relate organisms to the rocks on which they formed.It suffers from the problem that rubidium and strontium are very mobile and may easily enter rocks at a much later date to that of formation.The time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is known as the half life of the isotope.Some isotopes have half lives longer than the present age of the universe, but they are still subject to the same laws of quantum physics and will eventually decay, even if doing so at a time when all remaining atoms in the universe are separated by astronomical distances.Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.Although the time at which any individual atom will decay cannot be forecast, the time in which any given percentage of a sample will decay can be calculated to varying degrees of accuracy.

The key is to measure an isotope that has had time to decay a measurable amount, but not so much as to only leave a trace remaining.However it is less useful for dating metal or other inorganic objects.Most rocks contain uranium, allowing uranium-lead and similar methods to date them.This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by contributors (read/edit).Text is available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license; additional terms may apply.The solution is: where is the half-life of the element, is the time expired since the sample contained the initial number atoms of the nuclide, and is the remaining amount of the nuclide.We can measure directly, for example by using a radiation detector, and obtain a good estimate of by analyzing the chemical composition of the sample.This method for rock dating is based on the decay of potassium-40 into argon: until the rock solidifies, argon can escape, so it can in theory date the formation of rock.One problem is that potassium is also highly mobile and may move into older rocks.Other elements used for dating, such as rubidium, occur in some minerals but not others, restricting usefulness.Note that although carbon-14 dating receives a lot of attention, since it can give information about the relatively recent past, it is rarely used in geology (and almost never used to date fossils).

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