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30-Sep-2020 02:08

Each original isotope, called the parent, gradually decays to form a new isotope, called the daughter.Each isotope is identified with what is called a ‘mass number’.Because of the fairly fast decay rate of carbon-14, it can only be used on material up to about 60,000 years old.Geologists use radiocarbon to date such materials as wood and pollen trapped in sediment, which indicates the date of the sediment itself.All radiometric dating methods measure isotopes in some way.Most directly measure the amount of isotopes in rocks, using a mass spectrometer.This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.

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Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.These rates of decay are known, so if you can measure the proportion of parent and daughter isotopes in rocks now, you can calculate when the rocks were formed.



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