Dating rocks using radioactive decay victoria british columbia dating

Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson. As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows.

However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.

Sedimentary rocks can be dated using radioactive carbon, but because carbon decays relatively quickly, this only works for rocks younger than about 50 thousand years.This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.those that form during chemical reactions without breaking down).This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.

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