Relative age dating worksheet updating 1970 s lighting
For example, with potassium-argon dating, we can tell the age of materials that contain potassium because we know that potassium-40 decays into argon-40 with a half-life of 1.3 billion years.
With rubidium-strontium dating, we see that rubidium-87 decays into strontium-87 with a half-life of 50 billion years.
This provides a built-in cross-check to more accurately determine the age of the sample.
Uranium is not the only isotope that can be used to date rocks; we do see additional methods of radiometric dating based on the decay of different isotopes.
So, if you know the radioactive isotope found in a substance and the isotope's half-life, you can calculate the age of the substance. Well, a simple explanation is that it is the time required for a quantity to fall to half of its starting value.
So, radiocarbon dating can be used to find the age of things that were once alive, like the Iceman.
And this would also include things like trees and plants, which give us paper and cloth.
So, we see there are a number of different methods for dating rocks and other non-living things, but what if our sample is organic in nature?
For example, how do we know that the Iceman, whose frozen body was chipped out of glacial ice in 1991, is 5,300 years old?