Radiometric dating of rock strata

When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.

Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.

This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.

These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.

Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.The atoms of some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.

You must have an account to comment. Please register or login here!