Radiometric dating of rock materials

A beta particle is shown with the Greek letter beta and is an electron that is emitted from the nucleus.

Now, this might sound a bit odd to you, because you do not typically think about electrons being inside of a nucleus.

Instead, you recognize them as those little things that look like orbiting planets moving around the outside of a nucleus.

But essentially, what is happening with beta decay is that we are taking a neutron, removing a negative charge and turning it into a proton.

Inside this nucleus, we see the protons and neutrons.

This parent nucleus is feeling somewhat unstable because it is too big or simply has too many protons, and it wants to get to a more stable state, so it's going to take two protons and two neutrons and kick them out of the nucleus as we see here.

Because these rates do not change and because the radiation that rocks give off can be measured, it became possible to calculate the time the rock was formed or, in other words, the rock's birth date - give or take a few thousand years or so.

Radiometric dating is sometimes referred to as radioactive dating.

Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay where an alpha particle is emitted.So that neutron basically emits an electron (the beta particle) and this essentially turns it into a proton.There is another type of decay that we want to learn about, but unlike alpha and beta decay, this type of decay does not release a particle.When they do, they release energy and get transformed into different nuclides.It's as if the nucleus is feeling too full of energy and it has to get rid of some, much like a hyperactive child who is so full of energy that he cannot stay seated in his chair.

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