Potassium lead dating

This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.The final decay product, lead-208 (208Pb), is stable and can no longer undergo spontaneous radioactive decay.It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.The best-known radiometric dating techniques include radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating, and uranium-lead dating.

Radiometric dating, often called radioactive dating, is a technique used to determine the age of materials such as rocks.It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates.In these cases, the half-life of interest in radiometric dating is usually the longest one in the chain.This half-life will be the rate-limiting factor in the ultimate transformation of the radioactive nuclide into its stable daughter(s).

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Example of a radioactive decay chain from lead-212 (212Pb) to lead-208 (208Pb) .

Each parent nuclide spontaneously decays into a daughter nuclide (the decay product) via an α decay or a β decay.

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