# Radiometric dating easy definition

An atom with the same number of protons in the nucleus but a different number of neutrons is called an isotope.

Radioactive elements "decay" (that is, change into other elements) by "half lives." If a half life is equal to one year, then one half of the radioactive element will have decayed in the first year after the mineral was formed; one half of the remainder will decay in the next year (leaving one-fourth remaining), and so forth.

The formula for the fraction remaining is one-half raised to the power given by the number of years divided by the half-life (in other words raised to a power equal to the number of half-lives).

Any argon present in a mineral containing potassium-40 must have been formed as the result of radioactive decay.

F, the fraction of K40 remaining, is equal to the amount of potassium-40 in the sample, divided by the sum of potassium-40 in the sample plus the calculated amount of potassium required to produce the amount of argon found. In spite of the fact that it is a gas, the argon is trapped in the mineral and can't escape.

The two curves cross each other at half life = 1.00.

At this point the fraction of Rb87 = Sr87 = 0.500; at half life = 2.00, Rb87 = 25% and Sr87 = 75%, and so on. 131, Strahler, Science and Earth History: Points are taken from these curves and a plot of fraction Sr-87/Sr-86 (as ordinate) vs. It turns out to be a straight line with a slope of -1.00.(Do not confuse with the highly radioactive isotope, strontium-90.) Strontium occurs naturally as a mixture of several nuclides, including the stable isotope strontium-86.If three different strontium-containing minerals form at the same time in the same magma, each strontium containing mineral will have the same ratios of the different strontium nuclides, since all strontium nuclides behave the same chemically.Radiometric dating is a means of determining the "age" of a mineral specimen by determining the relative amounts present of certain radioactive elements.By "age" we mean the elapsed time from when the mineral specimen was formed.The creationist "argon escape" theory does not support their young earth model.) The argon age determination of the mineral can be confirmed by measuring the loss of potassium.

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