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Albertgauss

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- When scientists radioactively date elements in the asteroids to determine the age of the solar system, how do they know what the original amount of the radioactive element was?

When scientists use radioactive dating of elements in the asteroids to determine the age of the solar system, how do they know what the original amount of the radioactive element that was in the rock was? Do they need to know what the original amount of the radioactive element was in the rock?

Just looking for a general answer here and if you know of a good webpage that talks about this, go ahead and post it here.

My guess is that there is some ratio of decay products to parent nuclei that can be measured, is this correct?

So for example, let's say that If I look in the asteroid rock and see that 25% of the rock sample is potassium–40 and the other 75% is calcium–40 and Argon–40, and I know the half-life of potassium–40 is 1.3 billion years, then the age of this rock must be about 2.6 billion years (that is, two half-lives have passed by the time and measure the age of this asteroid). Is this along the right logic?

Just looking for a general answer here and if you know of a good webpage that talks about this, go ahead and post it here.

My guess is that there is some ratio of decay products to parent nuclei that can be measured, is this correct?

So for example, let's say that If I look in the asteroid rock and see that 25% of the rock sample is potassium–40 and the other 75% is calcium–40 and Argon–40, and I know the half-life of potassium–40 is 1.3 billion years, then the age of this rock must be about 2.6 billion years (that is, two half-lives have passed by the time and measure the age of this asteroid). Is this along the right logic?