What is radioisotope dating
Then, by assessing the isotope concentrations of rubidium and strontium, scientists can back-calculate to determine when the rock was formed.
But that model doesn't account for differential mass diffusion -- the tendency of different atoms to diffuse though a material at different rates.
And atoms of strontium-86 can diffuse more readily than atoms of strontium-87 or rubidium, simply because atoms of strontium-86 are smaller.
"It's a slow process, but not necessarily a negligible one when you're talking about geological time scales," says Robert Hayes, an associate professor of nuclear engineering at NC State and author of a paper describing the work.
Yes, radioactive isotopes present in rocks and other ancient material decay atom by atom at a steady rate, much as clocks tick time away.
Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. It is no more complicated than playing a dice game! Roll the Dice & Use Radiometric Dating to Find Out.