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Fossil dating method

Two methods are normally used relative dating and absolute dating. This method of dating uses rocks and other similar fossils in the area for working out a relative age, but this method doesn’t give an actual number.

Scientists date igneous rock using elements that are slow to decay, such as uranium and potassium.When people think of dating fossils they normally are most familiar with carbon dating but this isn’t normally used for fossils because the half life for carbon is too short to identify.It is only possible to carbon date things that are younger than 75000 years old whereas potassium has a half life of 1.25 billion years so this is more common in rocks. Feel free to have your say in the comments below, leave a like if you enjoyed this article!Geologists study the order that rocks and fossils appear and disappear, this study is called biostratigraphy.For example, if you find a ammonite and it was found near a Triassic rock then you know that the ammonite is 200 million years old.Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on relative and absolute dating.

Absolute dating is the process of determining an age on a specified chronology in archaeology and geology.

The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements.

Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.

This measures the amount of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 (C) in the sample.

There is a certain amount of carbon-14 in all organic matter, and over time it breaks down into carbon-12 or regular non-radioactive carbon. Unfortunately carbon dating is only accurate to 50,000 years with an error of ±500 years. One key problem with isotopic dating (carbon dating) is that it assumes that carbon-14 breaks down to carbon-12 at a constant rate.

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