Radiometric Dating

Topics: Radioactive decay, Isotope, Helium Pages: 4 (1167 words) Published: September 4, 2011
Index: 1 What is radiometric dating? 2 Theory on which it is 2 How does radiometric dating 3 How accurate is 4 Problems and shortcomings of radiometric 5 6 7

Radiometric dating is the method used to determine the age of material. Rocks for example are made up of elements and some of these elements are unstable and will decay to form a different element over time, this is called radiometric decay. Scientists use a spectrometer to determine the amount of each parent and daughter isotope in the material. By finding these values they work out how old the rock or object is. Radiometric dating is a very accurate way to date the age of an object if the object was in a closed system. Also if the number of parent and daughter isotopes are known from its creation. However it is very difficult for an object to be in an isolated system for many years. It is also impossible to know the number of each isotope that is present in the rock when it was created.

What is radiometric dating?
Radiometric dating is used to determine the age of rocks and other materials. Rocks consist of crystals that are made up of many different elements. Some of these elements are stable and will not change but others will decay too form different elements over time. This process is called radioactive decay. The unstable element (the parent element) decays at a predictable rate to form the stable daughter element. Radiometric dating is used to determine the age of many materials on...
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