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Earth Science
Geologic History
Mrs. LeMieux
Radioactive Dating Vocabulary
Element: a substance consisting of atoms that are chemically alike.
Isotope: one variety of an element with the same atomic number, but
different atomic mass and physical properties.
Example: Carbon12 and Carbon14
Radioactive Decay: when unstable atoms of an element breakdown into
stable atoms. The stable atom may be the same element or a different
element.
Half-life: time required for half of the atoms in a given amount of an
unstable isotope to decay or change into a different isotope.
Radioactive Dating: using radioactive isotopes to determine the absolute
age of rocks or geologic events (like volcanoes and meteor strikes).
Carbon-14 dating: Using Carbon14 to date rocks and organic remains that
are less than 50,000 years old.