Absolute dating rock layers


Carbon-14 dating is also limited to the remains of once-living things. To date rocks, scientists use other radioactive isotopes. How do different isotopes of the same element differ?

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The complete "Paleontology and Dinosaurs" module takes approximately four weeks to teach. " activity is a 30-minute introduction to geologic time.An element is defined by the number of protons it contains. For carbon-14 decay, each carbon-14 atom loses an alpha particle. This is illustrated in Figure below and at the link below.[Insert a link to an animation of the decay of carbon-14 to nitrogen-14.] The decay of an unstable isotope to a stable element occurs at a constant rate. The decay rate is measured in a unit called the half-life.All atoms of a given element contain the same number of protons. Atoms of an element with different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. The half-life is the time it takes for half of a given amount of an isotope to decay.Because they decay more slowly, they can be used to date much older specimens.

You can learn more about these other isotopes at the link below.[Insert a link to a video about radiometric dating with isotopes other than carbon-14.] 1.

The study of fossils and the exploration of what they tell scientists about past climates and environments on Earth can be an interesting study for students of all ages.



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