Radioactive dating of fossils definition

17 Mar

All living things on Earth are made up of a high percentage of an element called carbon.

Carbon combines with other elements in complex ways to form the molecules that make up our bodies.

Potassium-40 is another radioactive element naturally found in your body and has a half-life of 1.3 billion years.

Other useful radioisotopes for radioactive dating include Uranium -235 (half-life = 704 million years), Uranium -238 (half-life = 4.5 billion years), Thorium-232 (half-life = 14 billion years) and Rubidium-87 (half-life = 49 billion years).

Radiocarbon dating is only effective for objects and fossils that are less than 50,000 years old.

However, scientists can look at the decay of other elements in these objects allowing them to date them up to 2.2 billion years.

Chronometric techniques include radiometric dating and radio-carbon dating, which both determine the age of materials through the decay of their radioactive elements; dendrochronology, which dates events and environmental conditions by studying tree growth rings; fluorine testing, which dates bones by calculating their fluorine content; pollen analysis, which identifies the number and type of pollen in a sample to place it in the correct historical period; and thermoluminescence, which dates ceramic materials by measuring their stored energy.

The textbooks speak of the radiometric dating techniques, and the dates themselves, as factual information.Anything that dies after the 1940s, when Nuclear bombs, nuclear reactors and open-air nuclear tests started changing things, will be harder to date precisely.Astronomy Worksheets Biology Worksheets Coloring Worksheets Dinosaur Worksheets Geology Worksheets Geography Worksheets History Worksheets Holiday Worksheets Math Worksheets Language Arts Worksheets All Educational Worksheets Astronomy Music Biology Music Concepts Music Chemistry Music Foreign Language Music Geology Music Geography Music History Music Language Arts Music Life Skills Music Math Music Physics Music All Educational Music One method that scientists use to date ancient fossils and artifacts is called radiocarbon dating.Most carbon on Earth is not radioactive, but a very small percentage is.Thus, as living things take in carbon, they inevitably will take up a small amount of radioactive carbon into their bodies.