Carbon dating on baby
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.
Isotopes participate in the same chemical reactions but often at differing rates.
When isotopes are to be designated specifically, the chemical symbol is expanded to identify the mass (for example, C is not stable.
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.
The atomic number corresponds to the number of protons in an atom.