Radiometric dating methods are the strongest direct evidence that geologists have for the age of the Earth.
In alpha decay, the radioactive atom emits an alpha particle.
An alpha particle contains two protons and two neutrons.
Uraniums abbreviation is U, so uranium-238 can be more briefly written as U238.
Many nuclides are stable -- they will always remain as they are unless some external force changes them.
Young-Earth creationists -- that is, creationists who believe that Earth is no more than 10,000 years old -- are fond of attacking radiometric dating methods as being full of inaccuracies and riddled with sources of error.
When I first became interested in the creation-evolution debate, in late 1994, I looked around for sources that clearly and simply explained what radiometric dating is and why young-Earth creationists are driven to discredit it.After emission, it quickly picks up two electrons to balance the two protons, and becomes an electrically neutral helium-4 (He4) atom. When an atom emits a beta particle, a neutron inside the nucleus is transformed to a proton.The mass number doesn't change, but the atomic number goes up by 1.Thats the essence of radiometric dating: measure the amount thats present, calculate how much is missing, and Obviously, the major question here is "how much of the nuclide was originally present in our sample? If an element has more than one nuclide present, and a mineral forms in a magma melt that includes that element, the elements different nuclides will appear in the mineral in precisely the same ratio that they occurred in the environment where and when the mineral was formed. The third and final axiom is that when an atom undergoes radioactive decay, its internal structure and also its chemical behavior change.Losing or gaining atomic number puts the atom in a different row of the periodic table, and elements in different rows behave in different ways. C14 is radioactive, with a half-life of 5730 years.Some, however, are unstable -- given time, they will spontaneously undergo one of the several kinds of radioactive decay, changing in the process into another element.