Radiometric dating answers dating antique jewelry

But whatever your passion for decaying metals and your level of chemical comprehension is now, I want to share my confidence that you can follow along just fine.

When the organisms die, they stop incorporating new C-14, and the old C-14 starts to decay back into N-14 by emitting beta particles.

Before I begin, there is one set of terms you should be able to distinguish: radiometric dating is a method of estimating the age of geological events using radioactive isotopes in minerals; radioactive dating occurs in the storage room at the nuclear power plant and has very little to do with geology.

Confusion of these terms is a sure sign of geological ignorance.

Chances are, you learned a simplified version of the technique at one point—if you remember your chemistry teacher discussing isotopes, half-lives, hourglasses, well, that was it—but have since removed the lesson to a box labeled "High School Amnesia" in some dark corner of your brain.

If you're reading this now, however, you might be curious to reopen that box in an effort to follow my argument as I answer the title of this post (or, if nothing else, to avoid admitting that chemistry was "not really your thing").