Radioactive dating technology dating native american tools weapons
and is now the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of fossilized life forms or the age of the Earth itself, and can also be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.
Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geologic time scale.
Precision is enhanced if measurements are taken on multiple samples from different locations of the rock body.
Isotopic systems that have been exploited for radiometric dating have half-lives ranging from only about 10 years (e.g., tritium) to over 100 billion years (e.g., samarium-147).
Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.
Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.
Another possibility is spontaneous fission into two or more nuclides.
While the moment in time at which a particular nucleus decays is unpredictable, a collection of atoms of a radioactive nuclide decays exponentially at a rate described by a parameter known as the half-life, usually given in units of years when discussing dating techniques.
Finally, correlation between different isotopic dating methods may be required to confirm the age of a sample.