Radioactive isotope used for radiometric dating
Any technique which dates a material based on the known decay rate of a radioactive component of the material is a form of radiometric dating. It means they see how much carbon 14 (an isotope of carbon) is left in the fossil, and subtract it from how much it would have started with to get the amount it has decayed…
There are many radioactive elements and thus many applications of the basic principle. For things that were once living the best method is what is called Carbon Dating, which is based on the decay of carbon-14.
Because radioactive decay follows a specific mathematical formula and is dependent upon unique decay rates (half-lives) of each element, formulas can be developed that compare the measured amounts of different elemental isotopes.
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Radiometric dating is the technique of using isotopic ratios of common elements to determine the age (approximate) of materials associated with the element, such as trees, rock strata, fossils, human artifacts and the like.
That is the time duration that is used for radiometric dating.
The technique of comparing the abundance ratio of a radioactive isotope to a reference isotope to determine the age of a material is called radioactive dating.
Carbon 14 is used for fossils of fairly recent origin, as it becomes less and less accurate beyond 10 half lives (about 50 thousand years). Potassium-Argon method – Potassium-40 decays to argon and calcium.