Radioactive or radiometric dating
Orbiting around the nucleus are electrons (tiny particles each with a single negative electric charge).
While the number of neutrons varies, every atom of any element always has the same number of protons and electrons.So let’s take a closer look and see how reliable this dating method really is.Each chemical element, such as carbon and oxygen, consists of atoms.Each atom is thought to be made up of three basic parts.The nucleus contains protons (tiny particles each with a single positive electric charge) and neutrons (particles without any electric charge).So, for example, every carbon atom contains six protons and six electrons, but the number of neutrons in each nucleus can be six, seven, or even eight.
Therefore, carbon has three isotopes (variations), which are specified carbon-12, carbon-13, and carbon-14 (Figure 1).
Some isotopes are radioactive; that is, they are unstable because their nuclei are too large.
PART 1: Back to Basics PART 2: Problems with the Assumptions PART 3: Making Sense of the Patterns This three-part series will help you properly understand radiometric dating, the assumptions that lead to inaccurate dates, and the clues about what really happened in the past.
Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old.
After all, textbooks, media, and museums glibly present ages of millions of years as fact.
Yet few people know how radiometric dating works or bother to ask what assumptions drive the conclusions.