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What is the difference between relative dating and radiometric dating

Short Answer: Radiometric dating is one type of method used in absolute dating.

Both relative dating and absolute dating are procedures used to give temporal characteristics to a sequence of events.

For example: If an archaeologist is studying past civilizations, the archaeologist may be able to say that in a particular location the ruins of once civilization were found to have been build on another and so the layers unearthed in an excavation convey the sequence of historical occupations without revealing the actual dates.

If the archaeologist finds a sample suitable for carbon dating, then an absolute date may be assigned to an object.

The primary difference in relative dating and absolute dating is that absolute dating assigns an actual time or age to an event or object.

It works because we know the fixed radioactive decay rates of uranium-238, which decays to lead-206, and for uranium-235, which decays to lead-207.

So, we start out with two isotopes of uranium that are unstable and radioactive.

Radiometric dating determines how old something is using radioactive isotopes. Relative dating is used to determine the age of a fossil by looking at its position in layers of sedimentary rocks.

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  1. Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson.

  2. What is the difference between relative age and absolute age? Relative age is saying a rock layer is older than the one above it and younger than the one below. Absolute age is placing an approximate date on the rock such as 4.3 million years ago mya. Can scientists use radiometric dating to determine the absolute age.

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