Radioactive dating dictionary

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Half-lives must therefore be known with great accuracy for precise dating and should range from about 10 years.

In addition, there should be no loss or gain of parent or daughter isotope during the time the ‘radioactive clock’ is operating; if this condition is only partly satisfied, allowances must be made.

For inorganic matter and for older materials, isotopes of other elements, such as potassium, uranium, and strontium, are used.

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The object's approximate age can then be figured out using the known rate of decay of the isotope.The amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products.Radiocarbon dating is one kind of radiometric dating, used for determining the age of organic remains that are less than 50,000 years old.When a substance is described as radioactive, it means that at the subatomic (relating to parts of an atom) level, some parts of it are unstable.When a substance is described as unstable, it means that it has a tendency to break down or decay.

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