Principles of Radiometric Dating


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Radiometric dating is a method used to date rocks based on what?

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1. Which of the following is the term used for the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation?

2. If a parent nucleus is feeling unstable because the ratio of neutrons to protons is too great, it might undergo a type of radioactive decay which results in the neutron emitting an electron (a beta particle) from the nucleus and turning into a proton. This describes what type of radioactive decay?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Focusing on how to determine the age of a rock, this quiz and corresponding worksheet will help you gauge your knowledge of the principles of radiometric dating. Topics you'll need to know to pass the quiz include understanding what radiometric dating is based upon as well as knowing the characteristics of radioactive decay.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

Use this printable worksheet and quiz to review these definitions:

  • Gamma decay
  • Alpha decay
  • Radioactive decay
  • Beta decay
  • Radiometric dating

Skills Practiced

This worksheet and quiz will let you practice the following skills:

  • Interpreting information - verify you can read information regarding the characteristics of radioactive decay and interpret it correctly
  • Reading comprehension - ensure that you draw the most important information from the related radiometric dating lesson
  • Defining key concepts - ensure that you can accurately define main phrases and terms, such as alpha and gamma decay

Additional Learning

To learn more about what the decay of a rock can tell us, review the corresponding lesson titled Principles of Radiometric Dating. This lesson will help you:

  • Understand what radiometric dating is
  • Describe how elements decay
  • Identify the difference between a parent and daughter nuclide
  • Explain when an alpha particle would be emitted
  • Appreciate the characteristics of each type of radioactive decay