Half life and radioactive dating ultimate dating tips bundle

The half-lives of certain types of radioisotopes are very useful to know.

They allow us to determine the ages of very old artifacts.

After one half-life of a given radioisotope, only one half as much of the original number of atoms remains active.

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To measure the passage of long periods of time, scientists take advantage of a regularity in certain unstable atoms.

In radioactive atoms the nucleus will spontaneously change into another type of nucleus.

Let's look closely at how the half-life affects an isotope. Therefore, after one half-life, you would have 5 grams of Barium-139, and 5 grams of Lanthanum-139.

After another 86 minutes, half of the 5 grams of Barium-139 would decay into Lanthanum-139; you would now have 2.5 grams of Barium-139 and 7.5 grams of Lanthanum-139.

Depending on the isotope, its Half Life may range from a few fractions of a second to several billion years. The Half Life of Uranium-238 is 4,500,000,000 years.

There is even a radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14. C-14 has two extra neutrons and a half-life of 5730 years.

For example, looking at a series of layers in the side of a cliff, the younger layers will be on top of the older layers.

Or you can tell that certain parts of the Moon's surface are older than other parts by counting the number of craters per unit area.

Once a plant or animal dies its carbon-14 content gradually decreases.

Using the half life for carbon-14 and comparing the amount of carbon-14 in on ancient artifact with the amount of carbon-14 we would expect in a fresh sample today we can date an object.

The Half Life is independent of the physical state (solid, liquid, gas) temperature, pressure, the chemical compound in which the nucleus finds itself, and essentially any other outside influence.

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