Carbon-14 is a method used for young (less than 50,000 year old) sedimentary rocks.
This method relies on the uptake of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 by all living things.
Learn about different types of radiometric dating, such as carbon dating.
All rocks and minerals contain tiny amounts of these radioactive elements.
Play a game that tests your ability to match the percentage of the dating element that remains to the age of the object.
Scientists look at half-life decay rates of radioactive isotopes to estimate when a particular atom might decay.
These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).
This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.
Since the 1950s, geologists have used radioactive elements as natural "clocks" for determining numerical ages of certain types of rocks. "Forms" means the moment an igneous rock solidifies from magma, a sedimentary rock layer is deposited, or a rock heated by metamorphism cools off.