However, the rapid decay allows precise dating - accuracy within just a couple decades. With radiocarbon dating, the amount of the radioactive isotope carbon is measured. The plot of the ratios will then produce a straight line below the Concordia curve. Methods for Determining Past Climates. Water Balance on Earth. Hope that helps, and please ask if you'd like more details!
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Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life
It works because we know the fixed radioactive decay rates of uranium, which decays to lead, and for uranium, which decays to lead So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages. We call the original, unstable isotope Uranium the "parent", and the product of decay Lead the "daughter". As one example, the first minerals to crystallize condense from the hot cloud of gasses that surrounded the Sun as it first became a star have been dated to plus or minus 2 million years!! For example, the element Uranium exists as one of several isotopes, some of which are unstable. Therefore, by measuring the ratio of lead to uranium in a crystal of zircon, you can tell how much uranium there originally was in the crystal, which, combined with knowing the radioactive half-life of uranium, tells you how old the crystal is.