Can radiometric dating tell us

Because of their unique decay rates, different elements are used for dating different age ranges.

For example, the decay of potassium-40 to argon-40 is used to date rocks older than 20,000 years, and the decay of uranium-238 to lead-206 is used for rocks older than 1 million years.

These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.

Each original isotope, called the parent, gradually decays to form a new isotope, called the daughter.

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This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time order.

Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.

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