Radioactive dating geology

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The above equation makes use of information on the composition of parent and daughter isotopes at the time the material being tested cooled below its closure temperature.This is well-established for most isotopic systems.

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.These radioactive elements constitute independent clocks that allow geologists to determine the age of the rocks in which they occur.The radioactive parent elements used to date rocks and minerals are: Radiometric dating using the naturally-occurring radioactive elements is simple in concept even though technically complex.The only way that this can happen is by changing the number of protons in the nucleus (an element is defined by its number of protons).There are a number of ways that this can happen and when it does, the atom is forever changed.

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