By establishing geological timescales, radiometric dating provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and rates of evolutionary change, and it is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.The different methods of radiometric dating are accurate over different timescales, and they are useful for different materials.Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes.Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.Yet most people really don’t know much about these radioactive dating methods.So slick and convincing are the presentations of results, particularly in glossy media and museum propaganda, that no one even bothers to question how these dating methods work, what assumptions are involved, and how reliable they are. The answers are not only instructive, but demolish the evolutionary geologist’s case for a 4.5-billion-year old earth.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.
Perhaps you have heard of Ice Man, a man living in the Alps who died and was entombed in glacial ice until recently when the ice moved and melted.
To achieve stability, some ‘particles’ are ejected from the atoms, and these moving ‘particles’ constitute the radioactivity measured by Geiger counters and the like.
The end result is stable atoms of the ‘daughter’ elements lead, argon, and strontium respectively.
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The methods work because radioactive elements are unstable, and they are always trying to move to a more stable state. This process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation is called radioactive decay.