What is radioactive dating

31 Jan

An atom with the same number of protons in the nucleus but a different number of neutrons is called an isotope.

For example, uranium-238 is an isotope of uranium-235, because it has 3 more neutrons in the nucleus.

Radioactive elements were incorporated into the Earth when the Solar System formed.

All rocks and minerals contain tiny amounts of these radioactive elements.

Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.

One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or C ratio gets smaller.

Carbon-14 is a method used for young (less than 50,000 year old) sedimentary rocks.

It takes a certain amount of time for half the atoms in a sample to decay.Radiometric dating is a means of determining the "age" of a mineral specimen by determining the relative amounts present of certain radioactive elements.By "age" we mean the elapsed time from when the mineral specimen was formed.If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.