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Parent Decay and Daughter Growth Curves Radiocarbon Dating Dating Rocks with the Rb-Sr "Isochron" Method Getting a Rock Sample Ready for the Mass Spectrometer A Mass Spectrometer is used to Measure Isotopic Ratios A numerical (or "absolute") age is a specific number of years, like 150 million years ago.

A relative age simply states whether one rock formation is older or younger than another formation.

For example, decay of the parent isotope Rb-87 (Rubidium) produces a stable daughter isotope, Sr-87 (Strontium), while releasing a beta particle (an electron from the nucleus).("87" is the atomic mass number = protons + neutrons.Numerical ages have been added to the Geologic Time Scale since the advent of radioactive age-dating techniques. In theory, the age of any of these minerals can be determined by: 1) counting the number of daughter isotopes in the mineral, and 2) using the known decay rate to calculate the length of time required to produce that number of daughters.It illustrates how the amount of a radioactive parent isotope decreases with time. For example when 42% of the parent still remains, 1.23 Half-Lives of time has passed.This amount is a percentage of the original parent amount. Parent Decay and Daughter Growth Curves The half-life of U-235 decaying to Pb-207 is 713 million years.

Note that this half-life can be obtained from the graph at the point where the decay and growth curves cross.

Determine the half-lives for the other three isotopes and enter your estimate into the text fields below each graph.

Note the differences in scale between the various graphs Radiocarbon Dating The radiocarbon dating method was developed in the 1940's by Willard F.

Libby and a team of scientists at the University of Chicago.

It subsequently evolved into the most powerful method of dating late Pleistocene and Holocene artifacts and geologic events up to about 50,000 years in age.

The radiocarbon method is applied in many different scientific fields, including archeology, geology, oceanography, hydrology, atmospheric science, and paleoclimatology.