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However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.

So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.

Carbon, uranium and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating.Each element is made up of atoms, and within each atom is a central particle called a nucleus.Within the nucleus, we find neutrons and protons; but for now, let's just focus on the neutrons.These neutrons can become unstable, and when they do, they release energy and undergo decay. Radioactivity occurs when the nucleus contains an excess amount of neutrons.Free 5-day trial 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. As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows.Ever wonder how scientists concluded the age of the earth to be about 4.6 billion years old or how geologists determined the ages of caverns, rocks, volcanoes and the Himalayas? Well, scientists are able to answer all of these wondrous questions and more by use of a process called radiometric or radioactive dating.Radioactive dating enables geologists to record the history of the earth and its events, such as the dinosaur era, within what they call the geologic time scale. Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.He was employed at Caltech's Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences at the time of writing the first edition.