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For an element to be useful for geochronology (measuring geological time), the isotope must be reasonably abundant and produce daughter isotopes at a good rate.
Either a whole rock or a single mineral grain can be dated.
The rate of decay (given the symbol λ) is the fraction of the 'parent' atoms that decay in unit time.
Efforts to salvage carbon dating are many and varied, with calibration curves attempting to bring the C-14 "dates" in line with historical dates, but these produce predictably unreliable results.those that form during chemical reactions without breaking down).The unstable or more commonly known radioactive isotopes break down by radioactive decay into other isotopes.Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).