Thermal ionization massive spectrometer supplied in radiometric dating.

Radiometric date calculates an er in years for geologic materials by measuring the existence of a short-life radiation element, e.g., carbon-14, or a long-life radioactive facet plus its decay product, e.g., potassium-14/argon-40. The term applies to all techniques of period determination based upon nuclear degeneration of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes. Bates and Jackson (1984)To determine the ages in years of planet materials and the timing of geologic events such as exhumation and subduction, geologists use the procedure of radiometric decay. Geologists use these days to further specify the borders of the geologic periods presented on the geologic time scale. Radiometric decay occurs when the cell core of a radiation atom spontaneously transforms right into an atom nucleus the a different, an ext stable isotope. This change happens via the emissions of corpuscle such together electrons (known as beta decay) and also alpha particles. Because that instance, rubidium-87 (87Rb), an unstable element, i do not care strontium-87 (87Sr), a stable element, via beta decay. As explained on WebGeology from the university of Tormsø, Norway: One neutron the the cell core emits a beta particle, i beg your pardon is identical to an electron. In addition the ghost emits a neutral bit that is called an antineutrino. By emitting a beta particle, the neutron is transformed right into a proton. This results in a nucleus written of 38 protons and also 49 neutrons, matching to strontium’s cell core of 87 atomic particles. Power is released throughout this process. The rubidium-strontium an approach has been a popular technique to recognize the absolute period of geological processes.When discussing decay rates, scientists refer to “half-lives”—the size of time it takes because that one-half the the initial atom that the radioactive isotope to decay into one atom the a new isotope. Due to the fact that decay occurs at a fixed price (this is the crucial point), scientists can measure the quantity of decayed product in the sample, determine the ratio in between original and also decayed material, and then calculation the sample’s age. Depending on the half-life and also the material being dated, various methods are used. Because that instance, geologists usage the Sm-Nd (samarium-147/neodymium-143) an approach for identify the period of really old products (e.g., meteorites and also metamorphic rocks) or when a rock became crystallized (in the mantle) or metamorphosed (at a subduction zone). Because that young organic materials, the carbon-14 (radiocarbon) technique is used.

You are watching: Which of the following is a radioisotope used to date rock formations

See more: How Many Calories In One Cup Of Flour, Calories In 1 Cup(S) Of White All Purpose Flour

The efficient dating selection of the carbon-14 method is in between 100 and 50,000 years.Table 1. Some generally used aspect pairs to create absolute ages

Original element

Decay product

Half-life (years)

Dated materials



4.5 billion




704 million



48.8 billion

Many rock-forming mineral (e.g., biotite, muscovite, amphibole, and Potassium feldspar)Whole crushed metamorphic or igneous rock



1.25 billion

Many rock-forming mineral (e.g., biotite, muscovite, amphibole, and also Potassium feldspar)Whole crushed volcanic rocks (e.g., lava flows and also ash)