Radioactivity and radioactive dating
Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them.We have rocks from the Moon (brought back), meteorites, and rocks that we know came from Mars.We can then use radioactive age dating in order to date the ages of the surfaces (when the rocks first formed, i.e. We also have meteorites from asteroids and can date them, too.Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).We can get absolute ages only if we have rocks from that surface.For others, all we are doing is getting a relative age, using things like the formation of craters and other features on a surface.
This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 55,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed. So we have to rely on something called radiometric dating to figure out the age of rock.To better understand how radiometric dating helps us determine the age of rocks, it will help us to gain a better understanding of how elements decay.Radioactive decay is the term used for the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation.