Absolute chronometric dating

These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.

The table below shows characteristics of some common radiometric dating methods.

Radiocarbon dating measures radioactive isotopes in once-living organic material instead of rock, using the decay of carbon-14 to nitrogen-14.

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

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Each isotope is identified with what is called a ‘mass number’.

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