Elements of radioactive dating
Long-lived radioactive elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium and any of their decay products, such as radium and radon are examples of NORM.These elements have always been present in the Earth's crust and atmosphere, and are concentrated in some places, such as uranium orebodies which may be mined.Certain naturally occurring radioactive isotopes are unstable: Their nucleus breaks apart, undergoing nuclear decay.Sometimes the product of that nuclear decay is unstable itself and undergoes nuclear decay, too.(These include the variety of elements used in ‘standard’ radioisotope dating, mature uranium radiohalos and fission track dating.) It would be hard to imagine that geologic processes alone could explain all these.Rather, there was likely to be an answer that concerned the nuclear decay processes themselves.Others had tried to find an answer in geological processes—e.g.
The nucleus has positively charged protons shoved together in an extremely small volume of space. The forces that normally hold the nucleus together sometimes can’t do the job, and so the nucleus breaks apart, undergoing nuclear decay.
Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes.
Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.
All minerals and raw materials contain radionuclides of natural origin.
The most important for the purposes of radiation protection are the radionuclides in the U-238 and Th-232 decay series.
However, the term is used more specifically for all naturally occurring radioactive materials where human activities have increased the potential for exposure compared with the unaltered situation.