and is now the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of fossilized life forms or the age of the Earth itself, and can also be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geological time scale.Rocks and fossils, consisting only of inorganic minerals, cannot be dated by this scheme.Carbon normally occurs as Carbon-12, but radioactive Carbon-14 may sometimes be formed in the outer atmosphere as Nitrogen-14 undergoes cosmic ray bombardment.Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.
Using radioactive dating, scientists have determined that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, ancient enough for all species to have been formed through evolution.1 The earth is now regarded as between 4.5 and 4.6 billion years old.2 The primary dating method scientists use for determining the age of the earth is radioisotope dating.
But, carbon dating can't be used to date either rocks or fossils.
It is only useful for once-living things which still contain carbon, like flesh or bone or wood.
Radioisotope dating (also referred to as radiometric dating) is the process of estimating the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements.
There are certain kinds of atoms in nature that are unstable and spontaneously change (decay) into other kinds of atoms.