Radioisotope methods of dating

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This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.

This method faces problems because the cosmic ray flux has changed over time, but a calibration factor is applied to take this into account.

Another way of expressing this is the half-life period (given the symbol T).

The half-life is the time it takes for half of the parent atoms to decay.

For an element to be useful for geochronology (measuring geological time), the isotope must be reasonably abundant and produce daughter isotopes at a good rate.

Either a whole rock or a single mineral grain can be dated.

This technique has become more widely used since the late 1950s.

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