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For most radioactive nuclides, the half-life depends solely on nuclear properties and is essentially a constant.It is not affected by external factors such as temperature, pressure, chemical environment, or presence of a magnetic or electric field.On the other hand, the concentration of carbon-14 falls off so steeply that the age of relatively young remains can be determined precisely to within a few decades.

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Alternatively, if several different minerals can be dated from the same sample and are assumed to be formed by the same event and were in equilibrium with the reservoir when they formed, they should form an isochron. In uranium–lead dating, the concordia diagram is used which also decreases the problem of nuclide loss.

Radiometric dating, radioactive dating or radioisotope dating is a technique which is used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.

The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.

For instance, carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years.

After an organism has been dead for 60,000 years, so little carbon-14 is left that accurate dating cannot be established.

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