Radiocarbon dating is used to estimate the age of
And this would also include things like trees and plants, which give us paper and cloth.So, radiocarbon dating is also useful for determining the age of relics, such the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.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.With radiocarbon dating, the amount of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 is measured.Compared to some of the other radioactive isotopes we have discussed, carbon-14's half-life of 5,730 years is considerably shorter, as it decays into nitrogen-14.
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.
So, we start out with two isotopes of uranium that are unstable and radioactive.
They release radiation until they eventually become stable isotopes of lead.
When the isotope is halfway to that point, it has reached its half-life.
There are different methods of radiometric dating that will vary due to the type of material that is being dated.
As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 70,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.