Carbon dating is one of the archeology’s mainstream methods for dating organic objects up to 50,000 years old.
Radioactive isotopes have a variety of applications.
Generally, however, they are useful because either we can detect their radioactivity or we can use the energy they release.
If half of the uranium has decayed, then the rock has an age of one half-life of uranium-235, or about 4.5 × 10 y.
In another interesting example of radioactive dating, hydrogen-3 dating has been used to verify the stated vintages of some old fine wines.
We know these steps because researchers followed the progress of carbon-14 throughout the process.
Radioactive isotopes are useful for establishing the ages of various objects.
For instance, leaks in underground water pipes can be discovered by running some tritium-containing water through the pipes and then using a Geiger counter to locate any radioactive tritium subsequently present in the ground around the pipes.
(Recall that tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.) Tracers can also be used to follow the steps of a complex chemical reaction.
This method of dating allows researchers to learn about past civilizations, changes in the earth, and in the climate.
Different civilizations and religions have different methods of dating.
Carbon-14 dating is a revolutionary advancement in the study of the history of our planet.