What is radiometric dating used for

This is an informational tour in which students gain a basic understanding of geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth’s history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the Geologic Time Scale.

Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.

The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.

Zircon forms in silicate melts with large proportions of high field strength incompatible elements.This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. The half-life of carbon-14 is only 5,730 years, so carbon-14 dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50,000 years old.Dinosaur bones, on the other hand, are millions of years old -- some fossils are billions of years old.Unfortunately, these elements don't exist in dinosaur fossils themselves.Each of them typically exists in igneous rock, or rock made from cooled magma.The name derives from the Persian zargun meaning gold-hued. It occurs as a common accessory mineral in igneous rocks (as primary crystallization products), in metamorphic rocks and as detrital grains in sedimentary rocks.

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