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This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating techniques work, how accurately the half-lives of the radioactive elements and the rock dates themselves are known, and how dates are checked with one another.

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In exponential decay the amount of material decreases by half during each half-life.

Most of the elements in nature are stable and do not change.

However, some elements are not completely stable in their natural state.

Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.

There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them.

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