Radioactive Dating


  1. Most atoms are Stable
    1. Carbon-12 will be Carbon-12 forever
    2. Oxygen-16 will be Oxygen-16 forever
  2. Some atoms are Unstable. They break down or “decay” into other atoms.
  3. These atoms are Radioactive.
    1. Carbon-14 decays into Nitrogen-14
    2. Uranium-238 decays into Lead-206
  4. When a radioactive element decays, it changes into a stable Daughter Product 
  5. Carbon-14 decays into Nitrogen-14
  6. Carbon-14 is the radioactive element
  7. Nitrogen-14 is the stable daughter product
  8. Uranium-238 decays into Lead-206
  9. Uranium-238 is the radioactive element
  10. Lead-206 is the stable daughter product
  11. The length of time it takes half of the atoms of a radioactive substance to decay into the daughter product is called the Half-Life.
  12. It is the lifetime of half of the radioactive atoms in a rock
  13. The half-life NEVER changes for an element no matter how many atoms you start with.
  14. To tell the age of a rock we need to know 3 things
  15. The number of atoms of the radioactive parent element in the rock
  16. The number of atoms of the stable daughter product in the rock
  17. The length of the half-life of the radioactive element











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