Scientists are always spouting information about the ages of rocks and fossils. Well, they figure it out using two different methods: relative dating and numerical dating.
Continue Reading During the formation of the Earth, radioactive elements became embedded in the minerals that make up the Earth's crust.
Since many of the minerals seen on a daily basis contain elements that decay over time, scientists can determine the ages of certain types of rocks.
Half-life refers to time it takes for half of the element to decay.
This method of dating elements in minerals is commonly used in fields such as geology, archeology and anthropology.
There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.
Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.Radiometric dating works by determining the ratio of the number of isotopes of an element and the number of isotopes the element it turns into over time.Since the rate at which certain elements decay and turn into different elements is understood, scientists are able to calculate the age of substances.Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.Since the rates at which these elements are fixed, all that's left to do is find out where the element is in its decaying process.