Radioactive decay[ edit ] Example of a radioactive decay chain from lead Pb to lead Pb. The final decay product, lead Pb , is stable and can no longer undergo spontaneous radioactive decay. All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements , each with its own atomic number , indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus. Additionally, elements may exist in different isotopes , with each isotope of an element differing in the number of neutrons in the nucleus.
How can radioactive decay be used to date rocks? | Socratic
How do scientists find the age of planets date samples or planetary time relative age and absolute age? We have rocks from the Moon brought back , meteorites, and rocks that we know came from Mars. We can then use radioactive age dating in order to date the ages of the surfaces when the rocks first formed, i. We also have meteorites from asteroids and can date them, too. These are the surfaces that we can get absolute ages for. For the others, one can only use relative age dating such as counting craters in order to estimate the age of the surface and the history of the surface.
Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic. Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson.
These radioactive isotopes are unstable, decaying over time at a predictable rate. As the isotopes decay, they give off particles from their nucleus and become a different isotope. The parent isotope is the original unstable isotope, and daughter isotopes are the stable product of the decay.