Radioactive potassium dating

Carbon combines with other elements in complex ways to form the molecules that make up our bodies.

Most carbon on Earth is not radioactive, but a very small percentage is.

However, scientists can look at the decay of other elements in these objects allowing them to date them up to 2.2 billion years.

The alkali metals are the elements that make up Group 1 (IA) of the periodic table.

For example, when U-238 (one of the radioactive isotopes of uranium) initially decays, it produces Th-234, which decays to Pa-234.

The decay continues until, finally, after a total of 14 steps, Pb-206 is produced.

Yes, you will certainly die from radiation poisoning if you are able to eat 10,000,000 bananas at once.

Bananas are slightly radioactive because they contain potassium and potassium decays.

The name 'radioactive' may suggest to you that radioactive elements radiate radio waves, but unfortunately that is not so!

The name 'radioactivity' is a misnomer because these elements have nothing to do with radio waves! To understand radioactivity, we need to explore the structure of an atomic nucleus.

The carbon in their bodies at the time of their death will remain in their bodies until they decompose, or if they become fossilized, then forever. This allows scientists to look at the amount of decay in a fossil’s radioactive carbon and determine a relative date.

Radiocarbon dating is only effective for objects and fossils that are less than 50,000 years old.

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