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For example, uranium-lead dating can be used to find the age of a uranium-containing mineral.
Carbon-14 is continually being created in the atmosphere due to the action of cosmic rays on nitrogen in the air.
Carbon-14 combines with oxygen to create carbon dioxide.
With rubidium-strontium dating, we see that rubidium-87 decays into strontium-87 with a half-life of 50 billion years.
By anyone's standards, 50 billion years is a long time.
When the isotope is halfway to that point, it has reached its half-life.
There are different methods of radiometric dating that will vary due to the type of material that is being dated.
These two uranium isotopes decay at different rates. The half-life of the uranium-238 to lead-206 is 4.47 billion years.
The uranium-235 to lead-207 decay series is marked by a half-life of 704 million years.
These differing rates of decay help make uranium-lead dating one of the most reliable methods of radiometric dating because they provide two different decay clocks.
This provides a built-in cross-check to more accurately determine the age of the sample.
For example, how do we know that the Iceman, whose frozen body was chipped out of glacial ice in 1991, is 5,300 years old?