Start Elements used for radioactive dating

Elements used for radioactive dating

There's a small amount of radioactive carbon-14 in all living organisms.

C and counting the amount of each) allows one to date the death of the once-living things.

This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.

those that form during chemical reactions without breaking down).

The atoms of each element may vary slightly in the numbers of neutrons within their nuclei.

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For geological purposes, this is taken as one year.

The technique of comparing the abundance ratio of a radioactive isotope to a reference isotope to determine the age of a material is called radioactive dating.

The results showed that Ötzi died over 5000 years ago, sometime between 33 BC. Uranium has a very long half-life and so by measuring how much uranium is left in a rock its approximate age can be worked out.