The half-lives of certain types of radioisotopes are very useful to know.They allow us to determine the ages of very old artifacts.

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Free 5-day trial Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes.

Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson. As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows.

Radioactive isotopes are nuclides (isotope-specific atoms) that have unstable nuclei that decay, emitting alpha, beta, and sometimes gamma rays.

Such isotopes eventually reach stability in the form of nonradioactive isotopes of other chemical elements, their "radiogenic daughters." Decay of a radionuclide to a stable radiogenic daughter is a function of time measured in units of half-lives.1) alpha (a) decay results from an excess of mass.

However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.

So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.In this type of decay, a negatively charged beta particle and a neutrino are emitted from the nucleus.The atomic number increases by one and the neutron number is reduced by one.Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes.Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.The atomic number decreases by one and the neutron number is increased by one.