Definition of relative dating science

13-Sep-2017 18:45 by 7 Comments

Definition of relative dating science

Within the nucleus, we find neutrons and protons; but for now, let's just focus on the neutrons.These neutrons can become unstable, and when they do, they release energy and undergo decay. Radioactivity occurs when the nucleus contains an excess amount of neutrons.

Elements occur naturally in the earth, and they can tell us a lot about our Earth's past.

When a sample is found, scientists measure the amount of the original or parent isotope and compare it to the amount of the decay product formed.

They then count the number of half-lives passed and compute the absolute age of the sample.

An example of this type of aging includes rocks in Canada that scientists identified as being hundreds of million years old.

Absolute age is more straight-forward and does not require any other objects for comparison.

For example, if an area used for trash has modern refuse in it such as CDs and computers, and the layer underneath has cans made of tin, then it is safe to say the layer of tin cans have a greater relative age than the layer with modern refuse.

However, this does not say anything about the absolute age of the layers.

When an atom varies in the number of neutrons, the variation is called an isotope. During radioactivity, the unstable isotope breaks down and changes into a different substance.

A new, more stable isotope, called the decay or daughter product, takes its place.

That is, scientists cannot tell exactly how old the layers are in years to the present date, only which is older than the other.

Techniques such as radioactive dating, including carbon dating, focus more on the absolute age of an object.

Carbon, uranium and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating.

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