What makes radioisotopes useful for dating objects

Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.The Greeks consider the first Olympic Games as the beginning or 776 BC.The Muslims count the Prophet’s departure from Mecca, or the Hegira, as their beginning at AD 662.The carbon-14 decays with its half-life of 5,700 years, while the amount of carbon-12 remains constant in the sample.By looking at the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the sample and comparing it to the ratio in a living organism, it is possible to determine the age of a formerly living thing fairly precisely. So, if you had a fossil that had 10 percent carbon-14 compared to a living sample, then that fossil would be: t = [ ln (0.10) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ (-2.303) / (-0.693) ] x 5,700 years t = [ 3.323 ] x 5,700 years Because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5,700 years, it is only reliable for dating objects up to about 60,000 years old.

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There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them.

Answer 2: Yes, radiometric dating is a very accurate way to date the Earth.

We know it is accurate because radiometric dating is based on the radioactive decay of unstable isotopes.

Other useful radioisotopes for radioactive dating include Uranium -235 (half-life = 704 million years), Uranium -238 (half-life = 4.5 billion years), Thorium-232 (half-life = 14 billion years) and Rubidium-87 (half-life = 49 billion years).

The use of various radioisotopes allows the dating of biological and geological samples with a high degree of accuracy.


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