Radiometric dating has been used to determine the ages of the Earth, Moon, meteorites, ages of fossils, including early man, timing of glaciations, ages of mineral deposits, recurrence rates of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the history of reversals of Earth's magnetic field, and many of other geological events and processes.Geological Time | Geologic Time Scale | Plate Tectonics | Radiometric Dating | Deep Time | Geological History of New Zealand | Radiometric Dating Radiometric measurements of time Since the early twentieth century scientists have found ways to accurately measure geological time.The carbon dioxide mixes throughout the atmosphere, dissolves in the oceans, and via C in the original sample will have decayed and after another 5568 years, half of that remaining material will have decayed, and so on.This half-life (t 1/2) is the name given to this value which Libby measured at 556830 years. After 10 half-lives, there is a very small amount of radioactive carbon present in a sample.
Willard Libby and his colleague Ernest Anderson showed that collected from sewage works had measurable radiocarbon activity whereas methane produced from petroleum did not.
By comparing this with modern levels of activity (1890 wood corrected for decay to 1950 AD) and using the measured half-life it becomes possible to calculate a date for the death of the sample. As a result of atomic bomb usage, C ages of objects younger than 1950.
Any material which is composed of carbon may be dated.
Carbon-14 is a method used for young (less than 50,000 year old) sedimentary rocks.
This method relies on the uptake of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 by all living things.