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All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements, each with its own atomic number, indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.

After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide or decay product.

In many cases, the daughter nuclide itself is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain, eventually ending with the formation of a stable (nonradioactive) daughter nuclide; each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.

Among the best-known techniques are radiocarbon dating, potassium–argon dating and uranium–lead dating.

By allowing the establishment of geological timescales, it provides a significant source of information about the ages of fossils and the deduced rates of evolutionary change.

The temperature at which this happens is known as the closure temperature or blocking temperature and is specific to a particular material and isotopic system.

These temperatures are experimentally determined in the lab by artificially resetting sample minerals using a high-temperature furnace.Another possibility is spontaneous fission into two or more nuclides.While the moment in time at which a particular nucleus decays is unpredictable, a collection of atoms of a radioactive nuclide decays exponentially at a rate described by a parameter known as the half-life, usually given in units of years when discussing dating techniques. Fw-300 #ya-qn-sort h2 /* Breadcrumb */ #ya-question-breadcrumb #ya-question-breadcrumb i #ya-question-breadcrumb a #bc .ya-q-full-text, .ya-q-text #ya-question-detail h1 html[lang="zh-Hant-TW"] .ya-q-full-text, html[lang="zh-Hant-TW"] .ya-q-text, html[lang="zh-Hant-HK"] .ya-q-full-text, html[lang="zh-Hant-HK"] .ya-q-text html[lang="zh-Hant-TW"] #ya-question-detail h1, html[lang="zh-Hant-HK"] #ya-question-detail h1 #Stencil . Bdend-1g /* Trending Now */ /* Center Rail */ #ya-center-rail .profile-banner-default .ya-ba-title #Stencil . Bgc-lgr #ya-best-answer, #ya-qpage-msg, #ya-question-detail, li.ya-other-answer .tupwrap .comment-text /* Right Rail */ #Stencil . Bxsh-003-prpl #yai-q-answer, #ya-trending, #ya-related-questions h2. Fw-300 .qstn-title #ya-trending-questions-show-more, #ya-related-questions-show-more #ya-trending-questions-more, #ya-related-questions-more /* DMROS */ .Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.