The technique of comparing the abundance ratio of a radioactive isotope to a reference isotope to determine the age of a material is called radioactive dating.Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.
Dating by radioactivity
Play a game that tests your ability to match the percentage of the dating element that remains to the age of the object.
Alpha decay is one type of radioactive decay, in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle, and thereby transforms (or "decays") into an atom with a mass number decreased by 4 and atomic number decreased by 2. A radioactive nucleus with zero spin can have no defined orientation, and hence emits the total momentum of its decay products isotropically (all directions and without bias).
Unstable atomic nuclei will spontaneously decompose to form nuclei with a higher stability. The energy and particles which are released during the decomposition process are called radiation.
When unstable nuclei decompose in nature, the process is referred to as natural radioactivity.
The emission of gamma radiation results from an energy change within the atomic nucleus.
Gamma emission changes neither the atomic number nor the atomic mass.
The man's body was recovered and pieces of tissue were studied for their C content by accelerator mass spectroscopy.
The best estimate from this dating technique says the man lived between 33 BC. From the ratio, the time since the formation of the rock can be calculated.
When the number of protons changes, an atom of a different chemical element is created.