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By dating rocks, scientists can approximate ages of very old fossils, bones and teeth.Radiocarbon dating was invented in the 1940s by Willard F. Radioactive dating is used in research fields, such as anthropology, palaeontology, geology and archeology.A half-life measures the time it takes for one half of a radio isotope's atoms to break down into another element.For instance, if an object has 50 percent of its decay product, it has been through one half-life.Geologist Ralph Harvey and historian Mott Greene explain the principles of radiometric dating and its application in determining the age of Earth.
A breakthrough came with the discovery of radioactivity at the beginning of the 1900s.
Continue Reading The key to an age of a substance is the decay-product ratio.
The ratio of the original isotope and its decay product determines how many half-lives have occurred since the sample formed.
Scientists discovered that rocks could be timepieces -- literally.
Many chemical elements in rock exist in a number of slightly different forms, known as isotopes.