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Radioactive dating method

When the organism dies, the supply stops, and the carbon-14 contained in the organism begins to spontaneously decay into nitrogen-14.

The time it takes for one-half of the carbon-14 to decay (a period called a half-life) is 5,730 years.

The older the pottery, the brighter the light that will be emitted.

Using thermoluminescence, pottery pieces as old as 100,000 years can be dated with precision. Known as dendrochronology (pronounced den-dro-crow-NOL-o-gee), tree-ring dating is based on the fact that trees produce one growth ring each year.

Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of an object or a series of events.

The two main types of dating methods are relative and absolute.

Cosmic rays: Invisible, high-energy particles that constantly bombard Earth from all directions in space.

Before the advent of absolute dating methods in the twentieth century, nearly all dating was relative.

The main relative dating method is stratigraphy (pronounced stra-TI-gra-fee), which is the study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers.

Since certain species of animals existed on Earth at specific times in history, the fossils or remains of such animals embedded within those successive layers of rock also help scientists determine the age of the layers.

Similarly, pollen grains released by seed-bearing plants became fossilized in rock layers.

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This method is based on the assumption (which nearly always holds true) that deeper layers of rock were deposited earlier in Earth's history, and thus are older than more shallow layers.