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What is the role of isotopes in radiometric dating

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Scientific knowledge of Earth’s geologic history has advanced significantly since the development of radiometric dating, a method of age determination based on the principle that radioactive atoms in geologic materials decay at constant, known rates to daughter atoms.

Radiometric dating has provided not only a means of numerically quantifying geologic time but also a tool for determining the...

The age of the carbon in the rock is different from that of the carbon in the air and makes carbon dating data for those organisms inaccurate under the assumptions normally used for carbon dating.

This restriction extends to animals that consume seafood in their diet.

...calculation was based on the assumption that the substance of the Earth is inert and thus incapable of producing new heat.

To see how we actually use this information to date rocks, consider the following: Usually, we know the amount, N, of an isotope present today, and the amount of a daughter element produced by decay, D*.

By definition, D* = N-1) (2) Now we can calculate the age if we know the number of daughter atoms produced by decay, D* and the number of parent atoms now present, N.

The energies involved are so large, and the nucleus is so small that physical conditions in the Earth (i.e. The rate of decay or rate of change of the number N of particles is proportional to the number present at any time, i.e.

The half-life is the amount of time it takes for one half of the initial amount of the parent, radioactive isotope, to decay to the daughter isotope.