Definition of radioisotope dating

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This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.

This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.

This technique has become more widely used since the late 1950s.

Its great advantage is that most rocks contain potassium, usually locked up in feldspars, clays and amphiboles.

However, there is a limited range in Sm-Nd isotopes in many igneous rocks, although metamorphic rocks that contain the mineral garnet are useful as this mineral has a large range in Sm-Nd isotopes.

This technique also helps in determining the composition and evolution of the Earth's mantle and bodies in the universe.

Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.

These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).

This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.This technique is used on ferromagnesian (iron/magnesium-containing) minerals such as micas and amphiboles or on limestones which also contain abundant strontium.However, both Rb and Sr easily follow fluids that move through rocks or escape during some types of metamorphism. The dual decay of potassium (K) to 40Ar (argon) and 40Ca (calcium) was worked out between 19.This technique uses the same minerals and rocks as for K-Ar dating but restricts measurements to the argon isotopic system which is not so affected by metamorphic and alteration events. The decay of 147Sm to 143Nd for dating rocks began in the mid-1970s and was widespread by the early 1980s.It is useful for dating very old igneous and metamorphic rocks and also meteorites and other cosmic fragments.

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