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The method works best if neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product enters or leaves the material after its formation.Anything which changes the relative amounts of the two isotopes (original and daughter) must be noted, and avoided if possible.For organic materials, the comparison is between the current ratio of a radioactive isotope to a stable isotope of the same element and the known ratio of the two isotopes in living organisms.
All rocks and minerals contain tiny amounts of these radioactive elements.
Carbon-14 is a method used for young (less than 50,000 year old) sedimentary rocks.
This method relies on the uptake of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 by all living things.
Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.
Radiometric dating methods are used to establish the geological time scale.