Radiometric dating method definition
Geochronology is the science of determining the age of rocks, fossils, and sediments using signatures inherent in the rocks themselves.
Absolute geochronology can be accomplished through radioactive isotopes, whereas relative geochronology is provided by tools such as palaeomagnetism and stable isotope ratios.
More slowly decaying isotopes are useful for longer periods of time, but less accurate in absolute years.
With the exception of the radiocarbon method, most of these techniques are actually based on measuring an increase in the abundance of a radiogenic isotope, which is the decay-product of the radioactive parent isotope.
A series of related techniques for determining the age at which a geomorphic surface was created (exposure dating), or at which formerly surficial materials were buried (burial dating).
Exposure dating uses the concentration of exotic nuclides (e.g.
Cl) produced by cosmic rays interacting with Earth materials as a proxy for the age at which a surface, such as an alluvial fan, was created.