Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.
These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).
The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered, and their placement in fossiliferous (fossil-containing) rock formations and sedimentary layers (strata) is known as the fossil record.
At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.
When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.
The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.
For geological purposes, this is taken as one year.
This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.
This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.But did you know that we can also date a rock with a fossil?Watch this video to find out how we use index fossils to establish the relative ages of rocks.Radioactive dating is a method of dating rocks and minerals using radioactive isotopes.This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.Each chapter will include a few questions designed to test your knowledge of material covered in the chapter and in the Internet-based resources.