Glossary radiometric dating updating a garmin
The amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products.
The object's approximate age can then be figured out using the known rate of decay of the isotope.
Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.
Fossils are generally found in sedimentary rock not igneous rock.
For inorganic matter and for older materials, isotopes of other elements, such as potassium, uranium, and strontium, are used.A new, more stable isotope, called the decay or daughter product, takes its place.The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements.Scientists date igneous rock using elements that are slow to decay, such as uranium and potassium.By dating these surrounding layers, they can figure out the youngest and oldest that the fossil might be; this is known as "bracketing" the age of the sedimentary layer in which the fossils occur.
Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.