How do scientists determine the absolute age of a rock using radiometric dating

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September 30, by Beth Geiger. Dinosaurs disappeared about 65 million years ago. That corn cob found in an ancient Native American fire pit is 1, years old. How do scientists actually know these ages? Geologic age dating—assigning an age to materials—is an entire discipline of its own. In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.
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How Do Scientists Determine the Age of Dinosaur Bones?

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Radiometric dating

Geologists do not use carbon-based radiometric dating to determine the age of rocks. Carbon dating only works for objects that are younger than about 50, years, and most rocks of interest are older than that. Carbon dating is used by archeologists to date trees, plants, and animal remains; as well as human artifacts made from wood and leather; because these items are generally younger than 50, years. Carbon is found in different forms in the environment — mainly in the stable form of carbon and the unstable form of carbon Over time, carbon decays radioactively and turns into nitrogen. A living organism takes in both carbon and carbon from the environment in the same relative proportion that they existed naturally.
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What do you do to find the absolute age of a rock?

As we learned in the previous lesson, index fossils and superposition are effective methods of determining the relative age of objects. In other words, you can use superposition to tell you that one rock layer is older than another. But determining the absolute age of a substance its age in years is a much greater challenge.
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To find the absolute age of a given rock, you look at radioactive decay. This involves a radioactive isotope. If the isotope is radioactive, it will evolve into a decay product.
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