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They should also understand that the atoms of any element are alike but are different from atoms of other elements.
Atoms may stick together in well-defined molecules or they could be packed together in large arrays.
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This technique relies on the property of half-life.
This method is useful for archaeologists working in areas where volcanic eruptions have left layers of ash above and below an archaeological deposit.
The volcanic layers can be dated, and the archaeological material will date to the period between those two volcanic eruptions.
By measuring the ratio of the amount of the original radioactive element to the daughter isotope, scientists can determine how many half-lives the element has undergone and from there can figure out the absolute age of the sample.
The half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.
Another role of isotopic geochemistry that is of great importance in geology is radiometric age dating. Beginning with studies in the 1950s, a much better chronology and record of Pleistocene climatic events have evolved through analyses of deep-sea sediments, particularly from the oxygen isotope record of the shells of microorganisms that lived in the oceans.