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The most widely known form of radiometric dating is carbon-14 dating.
This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. The half-life of carbon-14 is only 5,730 years, so carbon-14 dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50,000 years old.
The time it takes for half of a sample to decay is called a “half-life.” By measuring radioactive half-lives, by measuring how much parent and daughter are present in any given specimen, and by making certain key assumptions, scientists believe they are able to accurately determine the age of a specimen. The question is what are the underlying key assumptions and how reliable are they?
The three key underlying assumptions are 1) the rate of decay of parent into daughter has remained constant throughout the unobservable past; 2) the specimen which we are examining hasn’t been contaminated in any way (that is, no parent or daughter has been added or taken away at any point during the unobservable past), and 3) we can determine how much parent and daughter were present at the beginning of the decay process – not all of the Pb206 present today necessarily came from decaying U238; Pb206 may have been part of the original constitution of the specimen.
For example, by using a laser, researchers can measure parent and daughter atoms in extremely small amounts of matter, making it possible to determine the age of very small samples [source: New Scientist].
Question: "How does radiometric dating fit with the view of a young earth?
These layers are like bookends -- they give a beginning and an end to the period of time when the sedimentary rock formed.
This is at first glance surprising for long-agers, because of the ease with which one would expect helium (with its tiny, light, unreactive atoms) to escape from the spaces within the crystal structure.Each of them typically exists in igneous rock, or rock made from cooled magma.Fossils, however, form in sedimentary rock -- sediment quickly covers a dinosaur's body, and the sediment and the bones gradually turn into rock.Using the basic ideas of bracketing and radiometric dating, researchers have determined the age of rock layers all over the world.This information has also helped determine the age of the Earth itself.