Radioactive decay dating video
After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide, or decay product.In many cases, the daughter nuclide is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain.But for humans whose life span rarely reaches more than 100 years, how can we be so sure of that ancient date? Even the Greeks and Romans realized that layers of sediment in rock signified old age.But it wasn't until the late 1700s -- when Scottish geologist James Hutton, who observed sediments building up on the landscape, set out to show that rocks were time clocks -- that serious scientific interest in geological age began.Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.
After all, the ever-changing Earth rarely left a complete geological record.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.This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.
Before then, the Bible had provided the only estimate for the age of the world: about 6,000 years, with Genesis as the history book.