Dating materials using radioactive isotopes patti stanger rules of dating
We know that elements can exist as isotopes, which means that their atomic nuclei contain the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons.Specially defined isotopes, called nuclides, can be unstable and therefore undergo radioactive decay.
So let's zoom into a nucleus and take a look at this alpha decay process.
To better understand how radiometric dating helps us determine the age of rocks, it will help us to gain a better understanding of how elements decay.
Radioactive decay is the term used for the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation.
So with this decay, we do not see the number of protons or neutrons within a nucleus changing. This decay is called gamma decay, and it is denoted by the third letter of the Greek alphabet, gamma, which looks like a lowercase 'y.' We define gamma decay as a type of radioactive decay where a gamma ray is emitted.
A gamma ray is a high-energy photon, and you have experienced gamma rays if you ever had an x-ray taken.