-life is defined as the time it takes for one half of a radioactive element to decay into a daughter isotope.
Half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.
How do scientists use half life in radiometric dating
Way that helps scientists place fossils into the correct era on the geologic time scale is by using radiometric dating.
In other words, half (50%) of the carbon-14 you started with has decayed into the daughter isotope nitrogen-14.
How do scientist use half lives in radiometric dating
Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.
If a rock has been partially melted, or otherwise metamorphosed, that causes complications for radiometric (absolute) age dating as well.
By measuring the ratio of the amount of the original radioactive element to the daughter isotope, scientists can determine how many half-lives the element has undergone and from there can figure out the absolute age of the sample.
Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.
Explanation of half-life and how it can be used to radiometrically date fossils using radioactive isotopes.
Dating and how it works, how carbon-14 is used to date the remains of living things.
In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.
Students work alone or in pairs to find an article or paper that uses radiometric age dating.
That you know how many half-lives have passed for your fossil, you need to multiply your number of half-lives by how many years are in one half-life.
However, your read out from your radioactivity measuring instrument says you have only 25% carbon-14 and 75% nitrogen-14, so your fossil must have been through more than one half-life.