Radioactive decay dating

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Meteorites are among the oldest objects we know about - formed about 4.5 billion years ago. This article describes the principles and methods used to make that determination.There are well-known methods of finding the ages of some natural objects.

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Actually, meteorites that formed by melting, e.g., the various types of achondrites, usually give more precise ages.

Thus, although "extinct", these nuclides are present in meteorites, but produced by a more recent process.

"The idea that Rb-Sr is the most used chronometer for meteorites is largely based on work done 10-30 years ago.

After the second half-life has elapsed, yet another 50% of the remaining parent isotope will decay into daughter isotopes, and so on.

For all practical purposes, the original isotope is considered extinct after 6 half-life intervals. A small portion of a meteorite is vaporized in the device forming ions.

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