Radiometric dating calculates an age in years for geologic materials by measuring the presence of a short-life radioactive element, e. The term applies to all methods of age determination based on nuclear decay of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes. Bates and Jackson To determine the ages in years of Earth materials and the timing of geologic events such as exhumation and subduction, geologists utilize the process of radiometric decay. Geologists use these dates to further define the boundaries of the geologic periods shown on the geologic time scale. Radiometric decay occurs when the nucleus of a radioactive atom spontaneously transforms into an atomic nucleus of a different, more stable isotope.
Age dating rocks
Relative dating — Science Learning Hub
Explore This Park. The eroded cliffs reveal 1. The oldest rocks exposed in the canyon are ancient, 1, million years old. Conversely, the canyon itself is geologically young, having been carved in the last 6 million years. An appreciation of geologic time places geologic topics such as geomorphology, the origin and evolution of the Colorado River, stratigraphy, historical geology, and paleontology in context. Unfortunately, telling geologic time is a mystery to visitors and park staff without backgrounds in Earth science.
Telling Time at Grand Canyon National Park
Radiometric dating , radioactive dating or radioisotope dating is a technique which is used to date materials such as rocks or carbon , in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed. The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay. Together with stratigraphic principles , radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geologic time scale. By allowing the establishment of geological timescales, it provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change.
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