Carbon dating sedimentary rock

The rates at which radioactive decay occur are constant and measurable using the isotope's half-life.

The half-life of a radioactive element is the time required for half the isotope to decay to form the stable daughter isotope.

For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates evolved from fossil primates and that this evolutionary history took tens of millions of years.

By comparing fossils of different primate species, scientists can examine how features changed and how primates evolved through time.

A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.

However, by itself a fossil has little meaning unless it is placed within some context.

During radioactive decay, the parent isotope transforms into a stable daughter isotope.According to the Smithsonian Institute, using radiodating of sedimentary rock tells the date of formation of the original igneous rock, which, through the processes of weathering and erosion, formed the layers of the sedimentary rock.Radiodating determines the maximum age of sedimentary rock. Geological Survey states that it is possible to use Carbon-14 radiometric dating for sedimentary rock younger than 50,000 years by dating once living material from the sediment.Most sediment is either laid down horizontally in bodies of water like the oceans, or on land on the margins of streams and rivers.Each time a new layer of sediment is deposited it is laid down horizontally on top of an older layer.

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