So, you can use the radioactive elements to measure the age of rocks and minerals. For example, if carbon from a sample of wood is found to contain only half as much carbon as that from a living plant, the estimated age of the old wood would be 5, years. The overall reliability of radiometric dating was addressed in some detail in a recent book by Brent Dalrymple, a premier expert in the field.
I find that entry-level students in my courses get stuck on the term "half-life". We can then use radioactive age dating in order to date the ages of the surfaces when the rocks first formed, i. So, Carbon can only measure things up to just over 50, years old, great for determining when someone built a wood fire, but not good for determining the age of a meteorite. For the others, one can only use relative age dating such as counting craters in order to estimate the age of the surface and the history of the surface. Claim: There are only a few different dating methods.