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Absolute Dating Chapter 3, Sec.3

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Process to find the approximate age of rocks or fossils

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Atoms Smallest part of matter Made of protons, neutrons, electrons Center called the nucleus

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Everything is made of atoms

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Protons, neutrons in nucleus Electrons move around nucleus

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Every element has a diff. # of protons

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Isotopes Atoms of the same element with different # of neutrons

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Radioactive Decay Most atoms are stable Some are unstable and breakdown or decay (radioactive)

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High energy particles are given off Can damage cells, organs, etc.. X-rays, gamma rays, electrons, protons, neutrons

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Decay occurs at a constant rate called half-life

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Half-life The time it takes for one-half of a sample to decay

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Problem I start with 10 grams of a sample It’s half-life is 20 years After 20 years, how much left? After 40 years, how much left 5 grams 2.5 grams

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Some unstable isotopes decay into stable isotopes

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3 radioactive dating methods Uranium-Lead Method Potassium-Argon Method Carbon-14 Method

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