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If there is too much daughter product(in this case nitrogen-14), age is hard to determine since the half-life does not make up a significant percentage of the material's age.The range of practical use for carbon-14 dating is roughly a few hundred years to fifty thousand years.The formula for the fraction remaining is one-half raised to the power given by the number of years divided by the half-life (in other words raised to a power equal to the number of half-lives).If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.As shown in the diagram above, the radioactive isotope carbon-14 originates in the Earth's atmosphere, is distributed among the living organisms on the surface, and ceases to replenish itself within an organism after that organism is dead.This means that lifeless organic matter is effectively a closed system, since no carbon-14 enters the organism after death, an occurrence that would affect accurate measurements.
Rubidium-87 comprises 27.85 percent of the total atomic abundance of rubidium, and of the four isotopes of strontium, only strontium-87 is formed by its decay.Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.An atom with the same number of protons in the nucleus but a different number of neutrons is called an isotope.The half-life of this process is 1.25 billion years, meaning that it can date significantly older samples.In rubidium-strontium dating a rubidium-87 isotope becomes the daughter product strontium-87.We designate a specific group of atoms by using the term "nuclide." A nuclide refers to a group of atoms with specified atomic number and mass number.Potassium-Argon dating: The element potassium (symbol K) has three nuclides, K39, K40, and K41. K40 can decay in two different ways: it can break down into either calcium or argon.The ratio of calcium formed to argon formed is fixed and known.Therefore the amount of argon formed provides a direct measurement of the amount of potassium-40 present in the specimen when it was originally formed.For example, uranium-238 is an isotope of uranium-235, because it has 3 more neutrons in the nucleus.It has the same number of protons, otherwise it wouldn't be uranium.