Explain relative dating

Posted by / 15-Jan-2020 23:20

There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating.

Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages.

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.Scientists can use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation.Index fossils are fossils that are known to only occur within a very specific age range.The same rock formation also contains a type of trilobite that was known to live 415 to 425 million years ago.Since the rock formation contains both types of fossils the ago of the rock formation must be in the overlapping date range of 415 to 420 million years.

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These isotopes break down at a constant rate over time through radioactive decay.