What is relative age dating of rocks

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As can be seen, radioactive dating is quite an advanced and sophisticated technique.Unfortunately, though, it is impossible to determine exactly what the age of a fossil or artifact is using it. Well, many sources state that a recent test on the accuracy of C-14 dating - and thus, in turn, radioactive dating - attempted to date living penguins. Aside from these alleged inconsistencies, there is also the assumption that the decay rates of the isotopes is constant, or fixed.Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence.The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata).Suppose you find a fossil at one place that cannot be dated using absolute methods.That fossil species may have been dated somewhere else, so you can match them and say that your fossil has a similar age.

By using the known decay rate of C-14 as a reference and working out how much of the fossil's composition consists of C-14 and how much of it consists of N-14, they can approximate the age.

The term used to define the amount of time it takes for half of the radioactive atoms, such as C-14, in a body or object to decay fully is known as a "half-life." The half-life of C-14 is approximately 5 730 years.

This means that, after 5 730 years, roughly half of the radioactive C-14 atoms in a decomposing organic body will have decayed into nitrogen-14 atoms. That is, after two half-lives, 100% of the C-14 atoms will not have decayed into N-14 atoms. To put it simply, if one were to draw the decay rate of C-14 on a line chart, it would not be a straight, diagonal line. Scientists can use decay rates to, very roughly, determine the age of a fossil or artifact.

This is a very extensive decay rate, but is still useful to scientists.

Much in the same way used to approximate the age of organic fossils, scientists use uranium-238's decay rate and the uranium-238 to lead-206 (which it decays into) ratio to approximate an age to assign to the object.

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