Types of radioactive dating

Radioactive decay: The predictable manner in which a population of atoms of a radioactive element spontaneously disintegrate over time.Stratigraphy: Study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers.Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of an object or a series of events.The two main types of dating methods are relative and absolute.These include the uranium-thorium method, the potassium-argon method, and the rubidium-strontium method. Thermoluminescence (pronounced ther-moeloo-mi-NES-ence) dating is very useful for determining the age of pottery.When a piece of pottery is heated in a laboratory at temperatures more than 930°F (500°C), electrons from quartz and other minerals in the pottery clay emit light.The age of the remains of plants, animals, and other organic material can be determined by measuring the amount of carbon-14 contained in that material.

Similarly, pollen grains released by seed-bearing plants became fossilized in rock layers.

When the organism dies, the supply stops, and the carbon-14 contained in the organism begins to spontaneously decay into nitrogen-14.

The time it takes for one-half of the carbon-14 to decay (a period called a half-life) is 5,730 years.

The older the pottery, the brighter the light that will be emitted.

Using thermoluminescence, pottery pieces as old as 100,000 years can be dated with precision. Known as dendrochronology (pronounced den-dro-crow-NOL-o-gee), tree-ring dating is based on the fact that trees produce one growth ring each year.

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Narrow rings grow in cold or dry years, and wide rings grow in warm or wet years.

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