Radioactive dating dictionary
Since each radioactive element decays at a known rate, it can be thought of as a ticking clock.
Boltwood explained that by studying a rock containing uranium, its age could be determined by measuring its amounts of uranium and lead.
This is because uranium decayed or changed into lead at such a slow rate that it was not reliable for measuring the age of rocks that were younger than 10,000,000 years old.
Another drawback was that uranium is not found in every rock.
The more lead the rock contained, the older it was.
Libby won the 1960 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery.
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Perhaps you have heard of Ice Man, a man living in the Alps who died and was entombed in glacial ice until recently when the ice moved and melted.
The man's body was recovered and pieces of tissue were studied for their C content by accelerator mass spectroscopy.The discovery allowed him to correctly date a piece of wood from an Egyptian tomb that was known to be about 4,600 years old.In the last 40 years, radiocarbon dating has been used on more than 100,000 samples in 80 different laboratories.Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates.