Radioactive dating is a method of dating rocks and minerals using radioactive isotopes.
This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.
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.
The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.
For geological purposes, this is taken as one year.
It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.
The best-known radiometric dating techniques include radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating, and uranium-lead dating.
In many cases, the daughter nuclide is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain.
Curie · Skłodowska-Curie · Davisson · Fermi · Hahn · Jensen · Lawrence · Mayer · Meitner · Oliphant · Oppenheimer · Proca · Purcell · Rabi · Rutherford · Soddy · Strassmann · Szilárd · Teller · Thomson · Walton · Wigner Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay or radioactivity) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy (in terms of mass in its rest frame) by emitting radiation, such as an alpha particle, beta particle with neutrino or only a neutrino in the case of electron capture, gamma ray, or electron in the case of internal conversion.
If there are multiple particles produced during a single decay, as in beta decay, their relative angular distribution, or spin directions may not be isotropic.
Radiometric dating, often called radioactive dating, is a technique used to determine the age of materials such as rocks.
It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates.