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    Why is radiocarbon dating only rarely applied in geological work

    Carbon-14 is a method used for young (less than 50,000 year old) sedimentary rocks.This method relies on the uptake of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 by all living things.

    For a long time there was considerable debate on the length of geologic time spans and the age of the earth.Geologic studies of active tectonism are greatly aided by definition and time calibration of local stratigraphic sequences.Because all dating techniques may be subject to considerable error, reliability should be assessed by stratigraphic consistency between results of different dating methods or of the same method.A commonly used radiometric dating technique relies on the breakdown of potassium (Ar in an igneous rock can tell us the amount of time that has passed since the rock crystallized.If an igneous or other rock is metamorphosed, its radiometric clock is reset, and potassium-argon measurements can be used to tell the number of years that has passed since metamorphism.

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