Radioactive dating lab activity

The following table lists a selection of isotope pairs that are used in making radiometric age determination.

Carbon-14 has a relatively short half-life, which makes it useful only for young, carbon-rich geologic materials, less than about 70,000 years old.

The dots in the cartoon below represent atoms of a parent isotope, decaying to its stable daughter product, through two half-lives.

At time zero in the diagram, which could represent the crystallization of minerals in a rock, there are 32 red dots.

0 half-lives, contains 32 red dots; 1 half-life, contains 16 red dots and 16 green dots; 2 half-lives, contains 8 red dots and 24 green dots" width="532" height="222" / For Uranium-238 the half life is 4.5 billion years The following graph illustrates radioactive decay of a fixed amount of an isotope.

You can see how the proportions of the isotopes from the cartoon above are graphed as percentages at half-lives 0, 1, and 2 below.

Most absolute age determinations in geology rely on radiometric methods. The most useful methods for measuring the ages of geologic materials make use of radioactive parent isotopes and their stable daughter products, as preserved in rocks, minerals, or other geologic materials.

An isotope is a particular type of atom of a chemical element, which differs from other isotopes of that element.

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That is why carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope-it contains a combination of protons and neutrons in its nucleus that is not stable enough to hold together indefinitely.About AMS Dating Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) dating involves accelerating ions to extraordinarily high kinetic energies followed by mass analysis.Radiocarbon Dating Groundwater The application of radiocarbon dating to groundwater analysis can offer a technique to predict the over-pumping of the aquifer before it becomes contaminated or overexploited.The lab does not engage in “satellite dating” – the practice of preparing individual graphite samples in remote chemistry labs then subcontracting to an AMS facility for the measurement.Secure online access to results, sample photos, and quality assurance reports Clients have online access to results from any device and can download calibration and QA reports 24/7 via the mobile-responsive results portal on the lab’s website.Therefore the half-lives and other properties of isotopes are unaffected by the changing conditions that a rock is subjected to as it moves through the rock cycle.


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