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There are two main applications for radiometric dating.One is for potentially dating fossils (once-living things) using carbon-14 dating, and the other is for dating rocks and the age of the earth using uranium, potassium and other radioactive atoms.The illustration below shows the three isotopes of carbon.Some isotopes of certain elements are unstable; they can spontaneously change into another kind of atom in a process called “radioactive decay.” Since this process presently happens at a known measured rate, scientists attempt to use it like a “clock” to tell how long ago a rock or fossil formed.
Atoms are made up of much smaller particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons.The earth has a magnetic field around it which helps protect us from harmful radiation from outer space. The stronger the field is around the earth, the fewer the number of cosmic rays that are able to reach the atmosphere.This would result in a smaller production of The cause for the long term variation of the C-14 level is not known.Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element.
Scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to estimate the ages of rocks, fossils, and the earth.