Radioactive dating diagram

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The Re-Os isotopic system was first developed in the early 1960s, but recently has been improved for accurate age determinations.The main limitation is that it only works on certain igneous rocks as most rocks have insufficient Re and Os or lack evolution of the isotopes.However, there is a limited range in Sm-Nd isotopes in many igneous rocks, although metamorphic rocks that contain the mineral garnet are useful as this mineral has a large range in Sm-Nd isotopes.This technique also helps in determining the composition and evolution of the Earth's mantle and bodies in the universe.This technique has become more widely used since the late 1950s.Its great advantage is that most rocks contain potassium, usually locked up in feldspars, clays and amphiboles.This technique is used on ferromagnesian (iron/magnesium-containing) minerals such as micas and amphiboles or on limestones which also contain abundant strontium.

This method faces problems because the cosmic ray flux has changed over time, but a calibration factor is applied to take this into account.This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.This radioactivity can be used for dating, since a radioactive 'parent' element decays into a stable 'daughter' element at a constant rate.those that form during chemical reactions without breaking down).The unstable or more commonly known radioactive isotopes break down by radioactive decay into other isotopes.

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