There are two main applications for radiometric dating.One is for potentially dating fossils (once-living things) using carbon-14 dating, and the other is for dating rocks and the age of the earth using uranium, potassium and other radioactive atoms.For example, all carbon atoms have 6 protons, all atoms of nitrogen have 7 protons, and all oxygen atoms have 8 protons.The number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary in any given type of atom.So, a carbon atom might have six neutrons, or seven, or possibly eight—but it would always have six protons.An “isotope” is any of several different forms of an element, each having different numbers of neutrons.Carbon 14 is used for fossils of fairly recent origin, as it becomes less and less accurate beyond 10 half lives (about 50 thousand years). Longer lived isotopes such as uranium/uranium, uranium/thorium, and potassium/argon are used to date inorganic materials of volcanic origin, such as rock or layers of volcanic ash, and can yield results ranging from millions to billions of years, accurate to within about a hundred thousand and thus many applications of the basic principle.Examples: Archeologists may employ the well known method of carbon 14 dating.
With our focus on one particular form of radiometric dating—carbon dating—we will see that carbon dating strongly supports a young earth.Note that, contrary to a popular misconception, carbon dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old.Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.Scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to estimate the ages of rocks, fossils, and the earth.Many people have been led to believe that radiometric dating methods have proved the earth to be billions of years old.The procedures used are not necessarily in question. The secular (evolutionary) worldview interprets the universe and world to be billions of years old. The use of carbon-14 dating is often misunderstood.