How is radioactive dating used

There are always a few astronomy students who ask me the good question (and many others who are too shy to ask), ``what if you don't know the original amount of parent material?

'' or ``what if the rock had some daughter material at the very beginning?

Isotopes of a given element have the same chemical properties, so a radioactive rock will incorporate the NONradioactively derived proportions of the two isotopes in the Multiply the amount of the non-daughter isotope (isotope B) in the radioactive rock by the ratio of the previous step: (isotope B) × R = initial amount of daughter isotope A that was not the result of decay.

Subtract the initial amount of daughter isotope A from the rock sample to get the amount of daughter isotope A that IS due to radioactive decay.

'' The age can still be determined but you have to be more clever in determining it.

After 1 half-life, there is 1/2 of the original amount of the parent left.Different isotopes of a given element will have the same chemistry but behave differently in Radioactive isotopes will decay in a regular exponential way such that one-half of a given amount of parent material will decay to form daughter material in a time period called a half-life. When the material is liquid or gaseous, the parent and daughter isotopes can escape, but when the material solidifies, they cannot so the ratio of parent to daughter isotopes is frozen in.The parent isotope can only decay, increasing the amount of daughter isotopes. The number n is the number of half-lives the sample has been decaying.The number of parent isotopes decreases while the number of daughter isotopes increases but the total of the two added together is a constant.You need to find how much of the daughter isotopes in the rock (call that isotope ``A'' for below) are the result of a radioactive decay of parent atoms.

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