Radiometric dating technique definition

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A technique for measuring the age of organic remains based on the rate of decay of carbon 14.Because the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 present in all living organisms is the same, and because the decay rate of carbon 14 is constant, the length of time that has passed since an organism has died can be calculated by comparing the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in its remains to the known ratio in living organisms.

A very small percentage of carbon, however, consists of the isotope carbon 14, or , which is unstable.

The isochron techniques are partly based on this principle.

The use of different dating methods on the same rock is an excellent way to check the accuracy of age results.

The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples.

Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.

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