Isotopic dating is based on

For example, fission track dating measures the microscopic marks left in crystals by subatomic particles from decaying isotopes.

Another example is luminescence dating, which measures the energy from radioactive decay that is trapped inside nearby crystals.

Because of the fairly fast decay rate of carbon-14, it can only be used on material up to about 60,000 years old.

Geologists use radiocarbon to date such materials as wood and pollen trapped in sediment, which indicates the date of the sediment itself.

Sedimentary rock is made of particles derived from other rocks, so measuring isotopes would date the original rock material, not the sediments they have ended up in.

However, there are radiometric dating methods that can be used on sedimentary rock, including luminescence dating.

The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom is called its atomic number.

This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.

These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.

All radiometric dating methods measure isotopes in some way.

Most directly measure the amount of isotopes in rocks, using a mass spectrometer.

Search for isotopic dating is based on:

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

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