Example concept half life used radiometric dating video dating service youtube
This technique relies on the property of half-life.
Half-life is defined as the time it takes for one-half of a radioactive element to decay into a daughter isotope.
As radioactive isotopes of elements decay, they lose their radioactivity and become a brand new element known as a daughter isotope.
Half of 50% is 25%, so you would have 25% Carbon-14 and 75% Nitrogen-14.
Below is a chart of commonly used radiometric isotopes, their half-lives, and the daughter isotopes they decay into.
Let's say you found a fossil you think to be a human skeleton.
This is what your readout said, so your fossil has undergone two half-lives.
Now that you know how many half-lives have passed for your fossil, you need to multiply your number of half-lives by how many years are in one half-life. Your fossil is of an organism (maybe human) that died 11,460 years ago.
The term is commonly used in nuclear physics to describe how quickly unstable atoms undergo, or how long stable atoms survive, radioactive decay.