Question: How to determine the age of a rock?

To establish the age of a rock or a fossil, researchers use some type of clock to determine the date it was formed. Geologists commonly use radiometric dating methods, based on the natural radioactive decay of certain elements such as potassium and carbon, as reliable clocks to date ancient events.

How can scientists use carbon 14 to determine the age of a rock?

Radiocarbon decays slowly in a living organism, and the amount lost is continually replenished as long as the organism takes in air or food. Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.

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