skip to content »

Radioisotope dating techniques

As time passes, argon accumulates in the rock as a result of radioactive potassium decay.

radioisotope dating techniques-68radioisotope dating techniques-60radioisotope dating techniques-23radioisotope dating techniques-11

Some isotopes, like deuterium, are stable; they’re perfectly happy with the number of electrons, protons, and neutrons they have.Hydrogen, for example, has one electron and one proton.Sometimes, it also has a neutron, in which case it is called deuterium.When scientists date rocks from our planet this way, the oldest dates they find are 4.5 billion years.By dating the lava flows above and below a fossil find, scientists can put exact boundaries on the maximum and minimum age of that fossil.This has enabled workers to define a for each radioisotope, the period required for one-half of the original parent population to decay to its stable daughter product.

Each radioisotope has its own characteristic half-life.

Isotopes of a given element carry different numbers of neutrons, or neutrally charged particles, in their nuclei.

The sum of the number of neutrons and protons in an atom's nucleaus defines its approximate atomic weight.

For example, all carbon atoms have six protons; isotopes of carbon can have 6, 7, or 8 neutrons (Table 1).

Radioactive isotopes (also called , which is an electron, or negatively charged nuclear particle.

In the third half-life, half again transition, and so on.