Earth dating methods

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Dendrochronology: Also known as tree-ring dating, the science concerned with determining the age of trees by examining their growth rings.

Half-life: Measurement of the time it takes for one-half of a radioactive substance to decay.

The nucleus of every radioactive element (such as radium and uranium) spontaneously disintegrates over time, transforming itself into the nucleus of an atom of a different element.

In the process of disintegration, the atom gives off radiation (energy emitted in the form of waves). Each element decays at its own rate, unaffected by external physical conditions.

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The most widely used and accepted form of absolute dating is radioactive decay dating. Radioactive decay refers to the process in which a radioactive form of an element is converted into a nonradioactive product at a regular rate.

With sensitive instrumentation, this range can be extended to 70,000 years.

In addition to the radiocarbon dating technique, scientists have developed other dating methods based on the transformation of one element into another.

Radioactive decay: The predictable manner in which a population of atoms of a radioactive element spontaneously disintegrate over time.

Stratigraphy: Study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers.

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