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.
Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geological time scale.
Their method, a type of radiometric dating called uranium-lead (U-Pb) dating, relies on the fact that uranium isotopes radioactively decay to form lead isotopes.
All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements, each with its own atomic number, indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.
Additionally, elements may exist in different isotopes, with each isotope of an element differing in the number of neutrons in the nucleus.
Radiometric dating not only supports the geologic "evolution" of the Grand Canyon, it validates a central tenet in a much different theory of evolution - a theory introduced by Charles Robert Darwin in his 1859 publication, An important criticism of Darwin's theory of evolution was its requirement for "an almost infinite number of generations", when evidence at the time suggested earth was less than 100 million years old.
Nearly 50 years after Darwin published , research on radioactive elements in rocks provided the first reliable evidence that the earth was old enough to accommodate the evolution of complex organisms.
Among the best-known techniques are radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating and uranium-lead dating.
By allowing the establishment of geological timescales, it provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change.Learn about different types of radiometric dating, such as carbon dating.Understand how decay and half life work to enable radiometric dating.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.The number of protons in an atom determines which element it is, while the number of neutrons determines which isotope it is.