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.Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.

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The energies involved are so large, and the nucleus is so small that physical conditions in the Earth (i.e. The rate of decay or rate of change of the number N of particles is proportional to the number present at any time, i.e.

The half-life is the amount of time it takes for one half of the initial amount of the parent, radioactive isotope, to decay to the daughter isotope.

He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.

C and counting the amount of each) allows one to date the death of the once-living things.

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.

We can also construct a Concordia diagram, which shows the values of Pb isotopes that would give concordant dates.

The Concordia curve can be calculated by defining the following: ).

Pb leakage is the most likely cause of discordant dates, since Pb will be occupying a site in the crystal that has suffered radiation damage as a result of U decay.

U would have been stable in the crystallographic site, but the site is now occupied by by Pb.

If a zircon crystal originally crystallizes from a magma and remains a closed system (no loss or gain of U or Pb) from the time of crystallization to the present, then the Discordant dates will not fall on the Concordia curve.