Radioactive decay rock dating


Natural sources of gamma rays on Earth are observed in the gamma decay of radionuclides and secondary radiation from atmospheric interactions with cosmic ray particles. There are rare terrestrial natural sources, such as lightning strikes and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes , that produce gamma rays not of a nuclear origin. Additionally, gamma rays are produced by a number of astronomical processes in which very high-energy electrons are produced, that in turn cause secondary gamma rays via bremsstrahlung , inverse Compton scattering , and synchrotron radiation . However, a large fraction of such astronomical gamma rays are screened by Earth's atmosphere and can only be detected by spacecraft. Gamma rays are produced by nuclear fusion in stars including the Sun (such as the CNO cycle ), but are absorbed or inelastically scattered by the stellar material, reducing their energy, before escaping and are not observable from Earth as gamma rays.

Very little helium is present in Earth's atmosphere. It is such a light element that Earth's gravity cannot hold it. When present at Earth's surface, unconfined helium immediately begins rising until it escapes the planet. That's why party balloons rise!


Radioactive decay rock dating

Radioactive decay rock dating



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