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It cannot be used directly to date rocks; however, it can potentially be used to put time constraints on some inorganic material such as diamonds (diamonds could contain carbon-14). Cosmic rays from outer space, which contain high levels of energy, bombard the earth’s upper atmosphere.
These cosmic rays collide with atoms in the atmosphere and can cause them to come apart.
Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.
The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element.
There are two main applications for radiometric dating.
One is for potentially dating fossils (once-living things) using carbon-14 dating, and the other is for dating rocks and the age of the earth using uranium, potassium and other radioactive atoms.
Carbon-14 is mostly used to date once-living things (organic material). Carbon-14 is constantly being added to the atmosphere.
Note that, contrary to a popular misconception, carbon dating is not used to date rocks at millions of years old.
Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.
(The electrons are so much lighter that they do not contribute significantly to the mass of an atom.) C), also referred to as radiocarbon, is claimed to be a reliable dating method for determining the age of fossils up to 50,000 to 60,000 years.
If this claim is true, the biblical account of a young earth (about 6,000 years) is in question, since C dates of tens of thousands of years are common.1 When a scientist’s interpretation of data does not match the clear meaning of the text in the Bible, we should never reinterpret the Bible.