Home earth Earth History Geologist Radioactive. Read about How do we know the Age of the Earth? Radiometric dating using the naturally-occurring radioactive elements is simple in concept even though technically complex. If we know the number of radioactive parent atoms present when a rock formed and the number present now, we can calculate the age of the rock using the decay constant. The number of parent atoms originally present is simply the number present now plus the number of daughter atoms formed by the decay, both of which are quantities that can be measured.
How Nuclear Radiation Works | HowStuffWorks
Most absolute age determinations in geology rely on radiometric methods. The earth is billions of years old. The main condition for the method is that the production rate of isotopes stays the same through ages, i. The production of isotopes from chemical elements is known as decay rate and it is considered a constant.
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How Nuclear Radiation Works
Environmental radioactivity is produced by radioactive materials in the human environment. While some radioisotopes , such as strontium 90 Sr and technetium 99 Tc , are only found on Earth as a result of human activity, and some, like potassium 40 K , are only present due to natural processes, a few isotopes, e. The concentration and location of some natural isotopes, particularly uranium U , can be affected by human activity.