Try It risk-free Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes.
Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson. As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows.
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.
Radiocarbon dating, also known as carbon-14 dating or simply carbon dating, is a method used to determine the age of organic material by measuring the radioactivity of its carbon content.
So, radiocarbon dating can be used to find the age of things that were once alive, like the Iceman.
Uranium is not the only isotope that can be used to date rocks; we do see additional methods of radiometric dating based on the decay of different isotopes.
So, you might say that the 'full-life' of a radioactive isotope ends when it has given off all of its radiation and reaches a point of being non-radioactive.However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.So, we start out with two isotopes of uranium that are unstable and radioactive.They release radiation until they eventually become stable isotopes of lead.And this would also include things like trees and plants, which give us paper and cloth.