History of absolute dating

10-Apr-2017 21:47

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For example, if potassium lost one proton from its nucleus, it would no longer be potassium; it would be argon because it would now have 18 protons in its nucleus instead of 19 protons.

Any substance with unstable nuclei is called radioactive because it will decay in this way.

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In other words, half the original atoms of the parent isotope decay in one half-life.The decay of Uranium-238 (U-238) to Lead-206 (Pb-206) is commonly used on grains of the mineral zircon because zircon readily incorporates uranium but rejects lead.Therefore, any lead found in a zircon crystal must have come from the decay of uranium instead of being present when the mineral crystallized.The oldest zircon ever found on Earth was found in the Jack Hills of Western Australia and was dated at 4.2 billion years old.