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Dating with Radioactivity

Bell-ringer: how can we use our

knowledge of relative dating and fossils
to understand geologic history?
What is radioactivity?

decay (breakdown)
of certain unstable
atomic nuclei.

the amount of time

necessary for one-half
of the nuclei in a
sample to become a
stable isotope.
Radiometric Dating

Using radioactive isotopes to determine

the exact age of rocks
Radiocarbon Dating

Determines age by comparing carbon-14

to carbon-12
When an organism dies, carbon-14
gradually decreases