Radiometric dating. Geologists use radiometric dating to estimate how long ago rocks formed, and to infer the ages of fossils contained within those rocks. So in order to date most older fossils, scientists look for layers of igneous rock or volcanic ash above and below the fossil.
Can you radiocarbon date anything?
What can be dated? For radiocarbon dating to be possible, the material must once have been part of a living organism. This means that things like stone, metal and pottery cannot usually be directly dated by this means unless there is some organic material embedded or left as a residue.
What do you call the age of the rock?
The age of a rock in years is called its absolute age. Geologists find absolute ages by measuring the amount of certain radioactive elements in the rock. When rocks are formed, small amounts of radioactive elements usually get included.
How can you tell how old a rock is?
To establish the age of a rock or a fossil, researchers use some type of clock to determine the date it was formed. Geologists commonly use radiometric dating methods, based on the natural radioactive decay of certain elements such as potassium and carbon, as reliable clocks to date ancient events.