What is radioisotope dating used for updating web page with microsoft frontpage on the server
Scientists find the ratio of parent isotope to daughter isotope.By comparing this ratio to the half-life logarithmic scale of the parent isotope, they are able to find the age of the rock or fossil in question.But for humans whose life span rarely reaches more than 100 years, how can we be so sure of that ancient date? Even the Greeks and Romans realized that layers of sediment in rock signified old age.But it wasn't until the late 1700s -- when Scottish geologist James Hutton, who observed sediments building up on the landscape, set out to show that rocks were time clocks -- that serious scientific interest in geological age began.Using fossils as guides, they began to piece together a crude history of Earth, but it was an imperfect history.After all, the ever-changing Earth rarely left a complete geological record.
Half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the parent isotopes to decay. In another 5,730 years, the organism will lose another half of the remaining C-14 isotopes.
Geologist Ralph Harvey and historian Mott Greene explain the principles of radiometric dating and its application in determining the age of Earth.
As the uranium in rocks decays, it emits subatomic particles and turns into lead at a constant rate.
Certain isotopes are unstable and undergo a process of radioactive decay, slowly and steadily transforming, molecule by molecule, into a different isotope.
This rate of decay is constant for a given isotope, and the time it takes for one-half of a particular isotope to decay is its radioactive half-life.