In many cases, the daughter nuclide is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain.

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All rocks and minerals contain long-lived radioactive elements that were incorporated into Earth when the Solar System formed.

These radioactive elements constitute independent clocks that allow geologists to determine the age of the rocks in which they occur.

The different methods of radiometric dating are accurate over different timescales, and they are useful for different materials.

After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide, or decay product.

Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old.

Yet this view is based on a misunderstanding of how radiometric dating works.The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.The results showed that Ötzi died over 5000 years ago, sometime between 33 BC. Uranium has a very long half-life and so by measuring how much uranium is left in a rock its approximate age can be worked out. PART 1: Back to Basics PART 2: Problems with the Assumptions PART 3: Making Sense of the Patterns This three-part series will help you properly understand radiometric dating, the assumptions that lead to inaccurate dates, and the clues about what really happened in the past.Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence that the Earth and the other bodies of the Solar System are 4.5-4.6 billion years old, and that the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe are older still.