Radioactice dating

19 Dec

Contamination from outside, or the loss of isotopes at any time from the rock's original formation, would change the result.

It is therefore essential to have as much information as possible about the material being dated and to check for possible signs of alteration.

For example: a carbon-14 atom (the "parent") emits radiation and transforms to a nitrogen-14 atom (the "daughter").

Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a way to find out how old something is.

The method compares the amount of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, in samples. It is the main way to learn the age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself.

These are the surfaces that we can get absolute ages for.

For the others, one can only use relative age dating (such as counting craters) in order to estimate the age of the surface and the history of the surface.