Fossil dating for kids

Stratigraphy - Geology for Kids

fossil dating for kids

Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a way to find out how old Fossils may be dated by taking samples of rocks from above and below the. Fossils are the remains of animals or plants that lived a long time ago. When we think of fossils, the first things that come to mind are the bones of dinosaurs; but. Radiocarbon Dating. One method that scientists use to date ancient fossils and artifacts is called radiocarbon dating. All living things on Earth are made up of a.

fossil dating for kids

Clay switches off with sandstone layers and carbonate switches off with shales. These layers create the combinations in the rocks you see below. Watch the video to see how these rock layers are created.


The layers on top of the stack are younger. This is because the new material usually settles on top of the old material to create new rock. Although superposition does not tell you the exact age, you can learn the age of the rock compared to the other rocks around it.

We call this process of finding out the age of strata based on the rocks around it, relative dating. For example, we know that chalk was formed in the Upper Cretaceous period. So if we find chalk in the strata, we can guess when it was laid down.

Radiometric dating facts for kids

Strata exposed on both sides of a valley. Each layer of strata matches a time period. The oldest rock is at the bottom. Strata help stratigraphers understand different historical events when rock shifts, like earthquakes. Also, scientists use fossils and strata to find out the age of both the objects and the rock layers.

No bones about it, fossils are important age markers. But the most accurate forms of absolute age dating are radiometric methods. This method works because some unstable radioactive isotopes of some elements decay at a known rate into daughter products. This rate of decay is called a half-life. Half-life simply means the amount of time it takes for half of a remaining particular isotope to decay to a daughter product.

Radiocarbon Dating - Kids History

Good discussion from the US Geological Survey: There are a couple catches, of course. Not all rocks have radioactive elements. Sedimentary rocks in particular are notoriously radioactive-free zones. So to date those, geologists look for layers like volcanic ash that might be sandwiched between the sedimentary layers, and that tend to have radioactive elements. You might have noticed that many of the oldest age dates come from a mineral called zircon.

What is Carbon Dating? - Chemistry for Kids | Mocomi

Each radioactive isotope works best for particular applications. The half-life of carbon 14, for example, is 5, years. On the other hand, the half-life of the isotope potassium 40 as it decays to argon is 1. Chart of a few different isotope half lifes: If a rock has been partially melted, or otherwise metamorphosed, that causes complications for radiometric absolute age dating as well.

fossil dating for kids

Good overview as relates to the Grand Canyon: Which are the youngest? I also like this simple exercise, a spin-off from an activity described on the USGS site above. Take students on a neighborhood walk and see what you can observe about age dates around you.

fossil dating for kids

For example, which is older, the bricks in a building or the building itself? Are there repairs or cracks in the sidewalk that came after the sidewalk was built?

Have students work alone or in pairs to find an article or paper that uses radiometric age dating.