Radiocarbon dating is useful for dating dinosaur fossils
So to determine the age of sedimentary rock layers, researchers first have to find neighboring layers of Earth that include igneous rock, such as volcanic ash.These layers are like bookends -- they give a beginning and an end to the period of time when the sedimentary rock formed.Fossils can't form in the igneous rock that usually does contain the isotopes.The extreme temperatures of the magma would just destroy the bones.By using radiometric dating to determine the age of igneous brackets, researchers can accurately determine the age of the sedimentary layers between them.Using the basic ideas of bracketing and radiometric dating, researchers have determined the age of rock layers all over the world.
As a result, any Carbon-14 in a sample should decay to undetectable levels well under 100,000 years.
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This information has also helped determine the age of the Earth itself.
While the oldest known rocks on Earth are about 3.5 billion years old, researchers have found zircon crystals that are 4.3 billion years old [source: USGS].