Question: What does radiometric dating determine?

The basic logic behind radiometric dating is that if you compare the presence of a radioactive isotope within a sample to its known abundance on Earth, and its known half-life (its rate of decay), you can calculate the age of the sample.

What does radiometric dating measure?

Radiometric dating calculates an age in years for geologic materials by measuring the presence of a short-life radioactive element, e.g., carbon-14, or a long-life radioactive element plus its decay product, e.g., potassium-14/argon-40.

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