Explain radiometric dating fossils

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This newer method converts a stable form of potassium (potassium-39) into argon-39.

Measuring the proportions of argon-39 and argon-40 within a sample allows the age of the sample to be determined.

The number of tracks increases over time at a rate that depends on the uranium content.

It is possible to calculate the age of a sample by measuring the uranium content and the density of the fission tracks.

Volcanic rocks – such as tuff and basalt – can be used in dating because they are formed at a particular moment in time, during an eruption.

Only one sample is required for this method as both the argon-39 and argon-40 can be extracted from the same sample.

In special cases, bones can be compared by measuring chemicals within them.

This form of uranium usually decays into a stable lead isotope but the uranium atoms can also split – a process known as fission.

During this process the pieces of the atom move apart at high speed, causing damage to the rock or mineral.

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