Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).those that form during chemical reactions without breaking down).The unstable or more commonly known radioactive isotopes break down by radioactive decay into other isotopes.Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which an age is already known.For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation.
It can only be used to date fossils younger than about 75,000 years.
Radioactive dating is a method of dating rocks and minerals using radioactive isotopes.
This method is useful for igneous and metamorphic rocks, which cannot be dated by the stratigraphic correlation method used for sedimentary rocks. Some do not change with time and form stable isotopes (i.e.
We define the rate of this radioactive decay in half-lives.
If a radioactive isotope is said to have a half-life of 5,000 years that means after 5,000 years exactly half of it will have decayed from the parent isotope into the daughter isotopes.
These isotopes break down at a constant rate over time through radioactive decay.