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So, if you know the radioactive isotope found in a substance and the isotope's half-life, you can calculate the age of the substance. Well, a simple explanation is that it is the time required for a quantity to fall to half of its starting value.So, you might say that the 'full-life' of a radioactive isotope ends when it has given off all of its radiation and reaches a point of being non-radioactive.However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages.When we look at sand in an hourglass, we can estimate how much time has passed based on the amount of sand that has fallen to the bottom.

In all radiometric procedures there is a specific age range for when a technique can be used.In radiometric dating, the decaying matter is called the parent isotope and the stable outcome of the decay is called the daughter product.Since the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years, scientists can measure the age of a sample by determining how many times its original carbon-14 amount has been cut in half since the death of the organism.By dividing the above equation by a common factor, a more useful equation can be created: This ratio of radiogenic strontium to a non-radiogenic isotope, Strontium-86, over time is more useful than the absolute amount of Strontium present in a sample.Putting all this information together can tell us the history of a rock sample.

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