Carbon dating isotope

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and is now the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of fossilized life forms or the age of the Earth itself, and can also be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geological time scale.Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.

Isotopic systems that have been exploited for radiometric dating have half-lives ranging from only about 10 years (e.g., tritium) to over 100 billion years (e.g., Samarium-147).This predictability allows the relative abundances of related nuclides to be used as a clock to measure the time from the incorporation of the original nuclides into a material to the present.The basic equation of radiometric dating requires that neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product can enter or leave the material after its formation.The precision of a dating method depends in part on the half-life of the radioactive isotope involved.For instance, carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years.

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