Dating of sedimentary rocks
But really, how do scientists figure out how old their dinosaur bones are?
And, what about other findings like fossil fish, plants and insects?
Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.
Fossils are generally found in sedimentary rock not igneous rock.
We'll explore both relative and numerical dating on our quest to understand the process of geological dating.
As a true sedimentary rock does not have a history of minerals crystallizing from an igneous melt, it is not possible to provide a radiometric date of sedimentary rocks.
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