Characteristics of radiometric dating

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Radioactive dating uses the ratios of isotopes and their specific decay products to determine the ages of rocks, fossils and other substances.Elements occur naturally in the earth, and they can tell us a lot about our Earth's past.Clearly, Sedimentary Rocks A were deposited and deformed before the Volcanic Dyke intruded them.These were then eroded and Sedimentary Rocks B were deposited.

Here he can see that some curved sedimentary rocks have been cut vertically by a sheet of volcanic rock called a dyke.Carbon, uranium and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating.Each element is made up of atoms, and within each atom is a central particle called a nucleus.Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.

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