These differing rates of decay help make uranium-lead dating one of the most reliable methods of radiometric dating because they provide two different decay clocks.
This provides a built-in cross-check to more accurately determine the age of the sample.
The methods work because radioactive elements are unstable, and they are always trying to move to a more stable state. This process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation is called radioactive decay.
The thing that makes this decay process so valuable for determining the age of an object is that each radioactive isotope decays at its own fixed rate, which is expressed in terms of its half-life.
Because plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, this isotope ends up inside the plant, and because animals eat plants, they get some as well.
When a plant or an animal dies, it stops taking in carbon-14.
Carbon-14 is continually being created in the atmosphere due to the action of cosmic rays on nitrogen in the air.
Carbon-14 combines with oxygen to create carbon dioxide.When the isotope is halfway to that point, it has reached its half-life.There are different methods of radiometric dating that will vary due to the type of material that is being dated.Radiocarbon dating, also known as carbon-14 dating or simply carbon dating, is a method used to determine the age of organic material by measuring the radioactivity of its carbon content.So, radiocarbon dating can be used to find the age of things that were once alive, like the Iceman.For example, how do we know that the Iceman, whose frozen body was chipped out of glacial ice in 1991, is 5,300 years old?