In these cases, usually the half-life of interest in radiometric dating is the longest one in the chain, which is the rate-limiting factor in the ultimate transformation of the radioactive nuclide into its stable daughter.
Isotopic systems that have been exploited for radiometric dating have half-lives ranging from only about 10 years (e.g., tritium) to over 100 billion years (e.g., Samarium-147).
On the cover of your ESRT in the top left box you will find the Radioactive Decay Data for four isotopes which we will focus on.
Carbon 14 occurs naturally, and is absorbed by all living things when we eat and drink.
HALF LIFE IS THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT TAKES FOR ONE HALF OF THE RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL TO DECAY INTO A STABLE FORM.
BEFORE DECAY BEGINS, ALL OF THE MATERIAL IS RADIOACTIVEAFTER ONE HALF LIFE, HALF OF THE SAMPLE REMAINS RADIOACTIVE AND THE OTHER HALF IS STABLEAFTER EACH ADDITIONAL HALF LIFE, HALF OF THE REMAINING RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL DECAYSWe use several radioactive isotopes to find the absolute age of events and objects because we know their half life.
Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.
Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.
Another possibility is spontaneous fission into two or more nuclides.
While the moment in time at which a particular nucleus decays is unpredictable, a collection of atoms of a radioactive nuclide decays exponentially at a rate described by a parameter known as the half-life, usually given in units of years when discussing dating techniques.
The possible confounding effects of contamination of parent and daughter isotopes have to be considered, as do the effects of any loss or gain of such isotopes since the sample was created.
It is therefore essential to have as much information as possible about the material being dated and to check for possible signs of alteration.
and is now the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of fossilized life forms or the age of the Earth itself, and can also be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.