Radioisotope dating problems
The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.
This transformation may be accomplished in a number of different ways, including alpha decay (emission of alpha particles) and beta decay (electron emission, positron emission, or electron capture).
Another possibility is spontaneous fission into two or more nuclides.
Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.
All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements, each with its own atomic number, indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.
Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geologic time scale.