Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.
Each isotope is identified with what is called a ‘mass number’.
When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.
Another example is luminescence dating, which measures the energy from radioactive decay that is trapped inside nearby crystals.
As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 70,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.
These break down over time in a process scientists call radioactive decay.
Each original isotope, called the parent, gradually decays to form a new isotope, called the daughter.However, there are radiometric dating methods that can be used on sedimentary rock, including luminescence dating.All radiometric dating methods measure isotopes in some way.These assessments will test you on the following: Learn more about relative dating by reviewing the lesson, What is Relative Dating?- Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships.Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.