What is absolute and relative age dating

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If a radioactive isotope is said to have a half-life of 5,000 years that means after 5,000 years exactly half of it will have decayed from the parent isotope into the daughter isotopes.Then after another 5,000 years half of the remaining parent isotope will have decayed.This makes it ideal for dating much older rocks and fossils.Absolute dating is the process of determining an age on a specified chronology in archaeology and geology.While people are most familiar with carbon dating, carbon dating is rarely applicable to fossils.

So, often layers of volcanic rocks above and below the layers containing fossils can be dated to provide a date range for the fossil containing rocks.Absolute age-dating tells how long ago an event occurred. Using these methods, geologists have created a geologic time scale for organizing past times in earth’s history. Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.

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