Radioactive dating of organic materials
Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a way to find out how old something is.
The method compares the amount of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, in samples. It is the main way to learn the age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself.
Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.
Radiometric dating methods are used to establish the geological time scale.
In fact, radiometric dating can be used to determine the age of the Earth, (5.54 billion years old) other planets, and celestial objects.
Radiometric dating is often referred to as “radioactive dating” and “carbon dating,” though many different types of isotopes can be used to identify an object’s age.
The method works best if neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product enters or leaves the material after its formation.
Anything which changes the relative amounts of the two isotopes (original and daughter) must be noted, and avoided if possible.
That isotope is then compared to its decaying product and scientists are able to use known decay rates to determine how old the initial isotope is.
However, samples must be taken from several different areas of the object being studied to ensure maximum accuracy.