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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.

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The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.

For geological purposes, this is taken as one year.

Radioactive dating is a method of dating rocks and minerals using radioactive isotopes.

This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.

All living organisms take up carbon from their environment including a small proportion of the radioactive isotope 14C (formed from nitrogen-14 as a result of cosmic ray bombardment).

The amount of carbon isotopes within living organisms reaches an equilibrium value, on death no more is taken up, and the 14C present starts to decay at a known rate.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.For an element to be useful for geochronology (measuring geological time), the isotope must be reasonably abundant and produce daughter isotopes at a good rate.

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