Radioactive dating of fossils

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Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).Radioactive dating is a method of dating rocks and minerals using radioactive isotopes.

In an undisturbed sequence of rocks, such as in a cliff face, it is easy to get a rough idea of the ages of the individual strata – the oldest lies at the bottom and the youngest lies at the top.

The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.

For geological purposes, this is taken as one year.

Fossils are collected along with rocks that occur from the same strata.

These samples are carefully cataloged and analyzed with a mass spectrometer.

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