Concept radiometric dating

Each isotope is identified with what is called a ‘mass number’.

When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.

All rocks and minerals contain long-lived radioactive elements that were incorporated into Earth when the Solar System formed.

As a result, rocks that record its earliest history have not been found and probably no longer exist.Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence that the Earth and the other bodies of the Solar System are 4.5-4.6 billion years old, and that the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe are older still.The principal evidence for the antiquity of Earth and its cosmic surroundings is: Spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei, termed radioactive decay, is the basis for all radiometric dating methods.These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.Each original isotope, called the parent, gradually decays to form a new isotope, called the daughter.

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