Simple definition of radioactive dating

These two uranium isotopes decay at different rates. The half-life of the uranium-238 to lead-206 is 4.47 billion years.The uranium-235 to lead-207 decay series is marked by a half-life of 704 million years.

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This time varies from few-millionths of a second to millions of years for different radioactive isotopes.These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'radioactive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. With rubidium-strontium dating, we see that rubidium-87 decays into strontium-87 with a half-life of 50 billion years.By anyone's standards, 50 billion years is a long time.In fact, this form of dating has been used to date the age of rocks brought back to Earth from the moon.

So, we see there are a number of different methods for dating rocks and other non-living things, but what if our sample is organic in nature?And this would also include things like trees and plants, which give us paper and cloth.So, radiocarbon dating is also useful for determining the age of relics, such the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shroud of Turin.So, if you know the radioactive isotope found in a substance and the isotope's half-life, you can calculate the age of the substance. Well, a simple explanation is that it is the time required for a quantity to fall to half of its starting value.So, you might say that the 'full-life' of a radioactive isotope ends when it has given off all of its radiation and reaches a point of being non-radioactive.When the isotope is halfway to that point, it has reached its half-life.