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Different isotopes of a given element will have the same chemistry but behave differently in Radioactive isotopes will decay in a regular exponential way such that one-half of a given amount of parent material will decay to form daughter material in a time period called a half-life. When the material is liquid or gaseous, the parent and daughter isotopes can escape, but when the material solidifies, they cannot so the ratio of parent to daughter isotopes is frozen in.The parent isotope can only decay, increasing the amount of daughter isotopes. The number n is the number of half-lives the sample has been decaying.Radioactive dating gives the Find out how many times you need to multiply (1/2) by itself to get the observed fraction of remaining parent material. If some material has been decaying long enough so that only 1/4 of the radioactive material is left, the sample is 2 half-lives old: 1/4 = (1/2) × (1/2), n =2.

Recall that an isotope is a particular form of an element.

All atoms of an element have the same number of protons in their nucleus and behave the same way in reactions.

The atoms of an isotope of a given element have same number of protons AND neutrons in their nucleus.

There are several ways to figure out relative ages, that is, if one thing is older than another.

For example, looking at a series of layers in the side of a cliff, the younger layers will be on top of the older layers.

Or you can tell that certain parts of the Moon's surface are older than other parts by counting the number of craters per unit area.The old surface will have many craters per area because it has been exposed to space for a long time. If you assume that the impact rate has been constant for the past several billion years, then the number of craters will be proportional to how long the surface is exposed.However, the crater number relation must be calibrated against something with a known age.To measure the passage of long periods of time, scientists take advantage of a regularity in certain unstable atoms.In radioactive atoms the nucleus will spontaneously change into another type of nucleus.When looking at a large number of atoms, you see that a certain fraction of them will change or dating system because you can determine accurate ages from the number of remaining radioactive atoms in a rock sample.