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Describe how radioactive dating is used to determine the age of fossils

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The most widely known form of radiometric dating is carbon dating. This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. But carbon dating won't work on dinosaur bones.

Many rocks and organisms contain...

The half-life of carbon is only 5, years, so carbon dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50, years old. Dinosaur bones, on the other hand, are millions of years old -- some fossils are billions of years old.

Radiometric dating or radioactive dating...

To determine the ages of these specimens, scientists need an isotope with a very long half-life. Some of the isotopes used for this purpose are uranium, uranium and potassiumeach of which has a half-life of more than a million years. Unfortunately, these elements don't exist in dinosaur fossils themselves. Each of them typically exists in igneous rock, or rock made from cooled magma. Fossils, however, form in sedimentary rock -- sediment quickly covers a dinosaur's body, and the sediment and the bones gradually turn into rock.

But this sediment doesn't typically include the necessary isotopes in measurable amounts. Fossils can't form in the igneous rock that usually does contain the isotopes. The extreme temperatures of the magma would Describe how radioactive dating is used to determine the age of fossils destroy the bones.

So to determine the age of sedimentary rock layers, researchers first have to find neighboring layers of Earth that include Describe how radioactive dating is used to determine the age of fossils rock, such as volcanic ash. These layers are like bookends -- they give a beginning and an end to the period of time when the sedimentary rock formed. By using radiometric dating to determine the age of igneous bracketsresearchers can accurately determine the age of the sedimentary layers between them.

Using the basic ideas of bracketing and radiometric dating, researchers have determined the age of rock layers all over the world. This information has also helped determine the age of the Earth itself.

While the oldest known rocks on Earth are about 3.

Using relative and radiometric dating...

Based on the analysis of these samples, scientists estimate that the Earth itself is about 4. In addition, the oldest known moon rocks are 4. Since the moon and the Earth probably formed at the same time, this supports the current idea of the Earth's age.

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You can learn more about fossils, dinosaurs, radiometric dating and related topics by reading through the links below. Radiometric dating isn't the only method of determining the age of rocks.

Some very straightforward principles are...

Other techniques include analyzing amino acids and measuring changes in an object's magnetic field. Scientists have also made improvements to the standard radiometric measurements. For example, by using a laser, researchers can measure parent and daughter atoms in extremely small amounts of matter, making it possible to determine the age of very small samples [source: Saber-tooth Kittens Were Big-boned.

An eagle flies over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, April 5, You can see the layers of sedimentary rock. Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or.

Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree:...

The age that can be calculated by radiometric dating is thus the time at which the rock or Plotting an isochron is used to solve the age equation graphically and calculate the age of the sample and the original composition.

Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree: dating is hard. the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.

Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques. Some very straightforward principles are used to determine the age of fossils. rate of radioactive decay that the age of rocks and fossils in number of years could should discuss together how to determine the relative age of each of the rock.

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