radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed the method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products which form at a known constant rate of decay.
radioactive dating chapter index in this window chapter index in separate window this material including images is copyrightedsee my copyright notice for fair use practices there are several ways to figure out relative ages that is if one thing is older than another.
Another absolute dating method is thermoluminescence which dates the last time an item was heated it is the only method that can be used to date rocks pottery and minerals for dates that are approximately between 300 to 10000 years old.
A further example from a lava flow off the coast of hawaii shows similar discrepancies if dated with the carbon14 method the flow appears to be less than 17000 years old but dating with the potassium argon method gives dates of 160000 to 43 million years.
carbon dating gets a reset climate records from a japanese lake are providing a more accurate timeline for dating objects as far back as 50000 years.
Carbon dating learn about carbon dating and how it is used to estimate the age of carbonbearing materials between 58000 to 62000 years.
The older a sample of a radioactive material the less radioactive it is the decrease in radioactivity follows a characteristic pattern shown in the graph or decay curve the y axis can represent the radioisotope left or the measured radioactivity.
Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50000 years old this technique is widely used on recent artifacts but educators and students alike should note that this technique will not work on older fossils like those of the dinosaurs alleged to be millions of years old.
geochronology nonradiometric dating in addition to radioactive decay many other processes have been investigated for their potential usefulness in absolute dating unfortunately they all occur at rates that lack the universal consistency of radioactive decay sometimes human observation can be maintained long enough to measure present rates of change but it is not at all certain on a.