Decay dating

SAL: In the last video we saw all sorts of different types of isotopes of atoms experiencing radioactive decay and turning into other atoms or releasing different types of particles. But the question is, when does an atom or nucleus decide to decay? So it could either be beta decay, which would release electrons from the neutrons and turn them into protons. And normally when we have any small amount of any element, we really have huge amounts of atoms of that element. That's 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd carbon-12 atoms. This is more than we can, than my head can really grasp around how large of a number this is. By definition, D* = N-1) (2) Now we can calculate the age if we know the number of daughter atoms produced by decay, D* and the number of parent atoms now present, N.

But the way we think about half-life is, people have studied carbon and they said, look, if I start off with 10 grams-- if I have just a block of carbon that's 10 grams. Those five grams of carbon-14, every one of those atoms still has, over the next-- whatever that number was, 5,740 years-- after 5,740 years, all of those once again have a 50% chance. Well, after one billion years I'll say, well you know, it'll probably have turned into nitrogen-14 at that point, but I'm not sure. You don't know how well it calibrates against time.

Let's say I have a bunch of, let's say these are all atoms. And let's say we're talking about the type of decay where an atom turns into another atom. Or maybe positron emission turning protons into neutrons. And we've talked about moles and, you know, one gram of carbon-12-- I'm sorry, 12 grams-- 12 grams of carbon-12 has one mole of carbon-12 in it.

So you might get a question like, I start with, oh I don't know, let's say I start with 80 grams of something with, let's just call it x, and it has a half-life of two years.

The half-life is the amount of time it takes for one half of the initial amount of the parent, radioactive isotope, to decay to the daughter isotope.

Thus, if we start out with 1 gram of the parent isotope, after the passage of 1 half-life there will be 0.5 gram of the parent isotope left.

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We can see how do deal with this if we take a particular case. For example the amount of Rb in mantle rocks is generally low, i.e. The mantle thus has a low If these two independent dates are the same, we say they are concordant.

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