Radioisotope dating kids

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Radioactive dating uses the ratios of isotopes and their specific decay products to determine the ages of rocks, fossils and other substances.

Elements occur naturally in the earth, and they can tell us a lot about our Earth's past.

Astronomy Worksheets Biology Worksheets Coloring Worksheets Dinosaur Worksheets Geology Worksheets Geography Worksheets History Worksheets Holiday Worksheets Math Worksheets Language Arts Worksheets All Educational Worksheets Astronomy Music Biology Music Concepts Music Chemistry Music Foreign Language Music Geology Music Geography Music History Music Language Arts Music Life Skills Music Math Music Physics Music All Educational Music One method that scientists use to date ancient fossils and artifacts is called radiocarbon dating.

All living things on Earth are made up of a high percentage of an element called carbon.

Carbon combines with other elements in complex ways to form the molecules that make up our bodies.

Most carbon on Earth is not radioactive, but a very small percentage is.

Fossils may be dated by taking samples of rocks from above and below the fossil's original position.A particular isotope of a particular element is called a nuclide. That is, at some point in time, an atom of such a nuclide will spontaneously change into a different nuclide by radioactive decay.The decay may happen by emission of particles (usually electrons (beta decay), positrons or alpha particles) or by spontaneous nuclear fission, and electron capture.Thus, as living things take in carbon, they inevitably will take up a small amount of radioactive carbon into their bodies.When these lifeforms die, they stop taking in new carbon.

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