Uses isotopes carbon dating

However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.

So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.

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For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.The carbon-14 isotope would vanish from Earth's atmosphere in less than a million years were it not for the constant influx of cosmic rays interacting with molecules of nitrogen (NFigure 1: Diagram of the formation of carbon-14 (forward), the decay of carbon-14 (reverse).Carbon-14 is constantly be generated in the atmosphere and cycled through the carbon and nitrogen cycles.The methods work because radioactive elements are unstable, and they are always trying to move to a more stable state. This process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation is called radioactive decay.The thing that makes this decay process so valuable for determining the age of an object is that each radioactive isotope decays at its own fixed rate, which is expressed in terms of its half-life.

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