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Rdiometric dating

With a half-life of about 5000 years, it is mainly useful for archaeology and not expected to give reliable ages beyond about ten half-lives or about 50,000 years.

(b) If the decay rate increased, atoms such as uranium, thorium, and samarium that decay by emitting alpha [helium nuclei] particles would have higher alpha emission energies.

The alpha particles would then travel further in the mineral and damage a larger spherical halo in the mineral lattice.

The natural occurrence of radioactive atoms thus seems to confirm the age of the solar system.

These inorganic methods date fossil material only by association and give ages of millions or billions of years.

For example in a 1969 article, volcanic rock from Mt.

Rangitoto in New Zealand gave potassium-argon ages of hundreds of thousands of years, but trees destroyed by the lava gave carbon-14 ages of hundreds of years.

RADIOMETRIC DATING WORKS Geology observations about the relation between different rocks can give relative ages, but radiometric dating is the primary method for giving absolute ages. During a certain length of time called a half-life, half of the radioactive parent atoms in a sample decay to stable daughter atoms.