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When we look at sand in an hourglass, we can estimate how much time has passed based on the amount of sand that has fallen to the bottom.
This predictability allows scientists to measure the age of an object if they can work out how many radioactive atoms were originally present.The original radioactive atom is known as a parent isotope, while the atom produced by the decay process is known as a daughter isotope. For example Uranium-235 and Uranium-238 are both Uranium atoms with the same number of protons, but they have a different number of neutrons.The number used to identify the isotope refers to the total number of particles in the nucleus of each atom.Some of the different kinds of radioactive atoms used to date objects are shown in the following table: Potassium-Argon Dating Potassium atoms are used to date rocks that have formed from molten rock. Argon is an inert gasit does not chemically bond to other atoms.Argon in molten rock can just bubble out and escape.