Start Radioactive dating archeology

Radioactive dating archeology

By dating rocks, scientists can approximate ages of very old fossils, bones and teeth.

The results showed that Ötzi died over 5000 years ago, sometime between 33 BC. Uranium has a very long half-life and so by measuring how much uranium is left in a rock its approximate age can be worked out.

Radioactive dating uses the decay rates of radioactive substances to measure absolute ages of rocks, minerals and carbon-based substances, according to How Stuff Works.

A popular way to determine the ages of biological substances no more than 50,000 years old is to measure the decay of carbon-14 into nitrogen-14.

For biological objects older than 50,000 years, scientists use radioactive dating to determine the age of rocks surrounding where the material was found.

For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.

Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.

The relationship between the two is: T = 0.693 / λ Many different radioactive isotopes and techniques are used for dating.