The abundances of parent and daughter isotopes in a sample can be measured and used to determine their age. This method is known as radiometric dating. The amount of time that it takes for half of the parent isotope to decay into daughter isotopes is called the half-life of an isotope (Figure 5b).
How do isotopes determine age?
Radiometric dating, which relies on the predictable decay of radioactive isotopes of carbon, uranium, potassium, and other elements, provides accurate age estimates for events back to the formation of Earth more than 4.5 billion years ago.
Why are isotopes important in determining the age of rocks?
The nuclear decay of radioactive isotopes is a process that behaves in a clock-like fashion and is thus a useful tool for determining the absolute age of rocks. Radioactive decay is the process by which a “parent” isotope changes into a “daughter” isotope.
What isotope is used to age samples?
carbon-14 dating Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon.
What is the meaning of isotopes?
isotope, one of two or more species of atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number and position in the periodic table and nearly identical chemical behaviour but with different atomic masses and physical properties. Every chemical element has one or more isotopes.
What are 2 examples of isotopes?
Isotope Examples Carbon 12 and Carbon 14 are both isotopes of carbon, one with 6 neutrons and one with 8 neutrons (both with 6 protons). Carbon-12 is a stable isotope, while carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope (radioisotope). Uranium-235 and uranium-238 occur naturally in the Earths crust. Both have long half-lives.