Radiometric dating age of fossils

Each atom has a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons.The electric force between the nucleus and electrons holds the atom together.

You would need to have access to scientific instruments at this point that could measure the amount of radioactivity in the sample, so off to the lab we go!

After you prepare your sample and put it into the machine, your readout says you have approximately 75% Nitrogen-14 and 25% Carbon-14.

The half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.

Different isotopes have different half-lives and sometimes more than one present isotope can be used to get an even more specific age of a fossil.

Radioactive isotopes are unstable and undergo spontaneous nuclear reactions, emitting particles and/or wavelike radiation.

The decay of any one nucleus cannot be predicted, but alarge group of identical nuclei decay at a predictable rate.Below is a chart of commonly used radiometric isotopes, their half-lives, and the daughter isotopes they decay into.Let's say you found a fossil you think to be a human skeleton.After two half-lives, another half of your leftover Carbon-14 would have decayed into Nitrogen-14.Half of 50% is 25%, so you would have 25% Carbon-14 and 75% Nitrogen-14.This technique relies on the property of half-life.

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