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This age is computed under the assumption that the parent substance (say, uranium) gradually decays to the daughter substance (say, lead), so the higher the ratio of lead to uranium, the older the rock must be.Of course, there are many problems with such dating methods, such as parent or daughter substances entering or leaving the rock, as well as daughter product being present at the beginning.A geologist can calculate the absolute age of the rock in a process called radiometric dating by measuring the amount of parent and daughter materials in a rock and by knowing the half-life of the parent material.Carbon-14 is a parent material, which decays to its daughter material, nitrogen-14.But even if it is true that older radiometric dates are found lower down in the geologic column, which is open to question, this can potentially be explained by processes occurring in magma chambers which cause the lava erupting earlier to appear older than the lava erupting later.
We may find it convenient to use exponential form in this exercise. The following equation represents the fraction of original radioactive element remaining in an object.Most people are not aware of the many processes that take place in lava before it erupts and as it solidifies, processes that can have a tremendous influence on daughter to parent ratios.Such processes can cause the daughter product to be enriched relative to the parent, which would make the rock look older, or cause the parent to be enriched relative to the daughter, which would make the rock look younger.By measuring the amount of carbon-14 remaining, the age of the fossil can be determined.Follow the steps listed below to illustrate the radioactive decay of carbon-14; then answer the questions: Each cut represents the half-life of carbon-14. Multiply the number of cuts by the half-life of carbon-14.