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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source (rā'dē-ō-mět'rĭk) A method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it.
For inorganic materials, such as rocks containing the radioactive isotope rubidium, the amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products (in this case strontium).
Example: A young-Earth research group reported that they sent a rock erupted in 1980 from Mount Saint Helens volcano to a dating lab and got back a potassium-argon age of several million years.
This shows we should not trust radiometric dating, right? The potassium-argon method, with its long half-life of 1.3 billion years, should not be used to date rocks that are only 25 years old.
These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.
The atoms of some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.
When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.Archaeologists, on the other hand, provide proof of authenticity of a certain artifact or debunk historical or anthropological findings.Archaeology has undoubtedly enriched mankind’s history like no other science.
These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.