Relative age dating lab answers
This number is attained by simply adding the number of parent and daughter atoms currently in the sample (because each daughter atom was once a parent atom).
The next step in radiometric dating involves converting the number of half-lives that have passed into an absolute (i.e., actual) age.
Radioactive decay involves unstable isotopes shedding energy in the form of radiation, causing their numbers of protons and neutrons to change, in turn resulting in one element changing into another. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
How many parent atoms would remain if three half-lives passed?
Based on this principle, geologists can count the number of parent atoms relative to daughter products in a sample to determine how many half-lives have passed since a mineral grain first formed. An example of how the initial number of radioactive parent atoms (blue diamonds) in two mineral grains (gray hexagons) changes over time (measured in half-lives) relative to the number of daughter products (red squares). The left-most box in the figure above represents an initial state, with parent atoms distributed throughout molten rock (magma).
As the magma cools, grains of different minerals begin to crystalize.
We now know that this estimate is far, far too young*.
But, unlike Ussher's calculation, this estimate was on the order of of years, rather than 6,000.