Define absolute and relative dating

Because of the fairly fast decay rate of carbon-14, it can only be used on material up to about 60,000 years old.

Geologists use radiocarbon to date such materials as wood and pollen trapped in sediment, which indicates the date of the sediment itself.

Dating is a technique used in archeology to ascertain the age of artifacts, fossils and other items considered to be valuable by archeologists.

Each isotope is identified with what is called a ‘mass number’.

The atoms of some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes.

These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.

For example, fission track dating measures the microscopic marks left in crystals by subatomic particles from decaying isotopes.

Another example is luminescence dating, which measures the energy from radioactive decay that is trapped inside nearby crystals.

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