Relative dating techniques for kids

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Although radiometric dating is accurate in principle, the accuracy is very dependent on the care with which the procedure is performed.The possible confounding effects of initial contamination of parent and daughter isotopes have to be considered, as do the effects of any loss or gain of such isotopes since the sample was created.The isotope used in uranium-thorium dating has a longer half-life, but other factors make it more accurate than radiocarbon dating.Radiometric dating can be performed on samples as small as a billionth of a gram using a mass spectrometer.Various methods exist differing in accuracy, cost and applicable time scale All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements, each with its own atomic number, indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.Additionally, elements may exist in different isotopes, with each isotope of an element differing only in the number of neutrons in the nucleus.rubidium-strontium decay sequence), does not require knowledge of the initial proportions.

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This predictability allows the relative abundances of related nuclides to be used as a clock that measures the time from the incorporation of the original nuclide(s) into a material to the present.The daughter product should not be a small-molecule gas that can leak out of the material, and it must itself have a long enough half-life that it will be present in significant amounts.In addition, the initial element and the decay product should not be produced or depleted in significant amounts by other reactions.Accuracy is enhanced if measurements are taken on different samples taken from the same rock body but at different locations. The precision of a method of dating depends in part on the half-life of the radioactive isotope involved.For instance, carbon-14 has a half-life of less than 6000 years.

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