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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.
Half-Life

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