What is the difference between relative dating and radiometric dating Wapsex

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When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.

Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.

Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks.

Fossils are important for working out the relative ages of sedimentary rocks.

These rates of decay are known, so if you can measure the proportion of parent and daughter isotopes in rocks now, you can calculate when the rocks were formed.

Because of their unique decay rates, different elements are used for dating different age ranges.

For example, microscopic dinoflagellates have been studied and dated in great detail around the world.This is different to relative dating, which only puts geological events in time Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained with radiometric methods.These use radioactive minerals in rocks as geological clocks.Students begin by observing a photograph and a diagram of rock layers near Whanganui, watch an animation about how the layers were formed, then use an interactive labelling diagram to work out the order in which the rocks were created.The activity offers literacy opportunities as well as practice using the science capability 'Interpret representations'.

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