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Other radiometric dating techniques are available for earlier periods.
One of the most widely used is potassium-argon dating (K-Ar dating).
Because the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years carbon dating is only reliable about up to 40,000 years, radiocarbon is less useful to date some recent sites. This technique usually cannot pinpoint the date of a site better than historic records.
A further issue is known as the "old wood" problem.
By measuring the proportion of carbon-14 in organic material, scientists can determine the date of death of the organic matter in an artifact or ecofact.Relative dating and radiometric dating are used to determine age of fossils and geologic features, but with different methods.Relative dating uses observation of location within rock layers, while radiometric dating uses data from the decay of radioactive substances within an object.Continue Reading Relative dating observes the placement of fossils and rock in layers known as strata.Basically, fossils and rock found in lower strata are older than those found in higher strata because lower objects must have been deposited first, while higher objects were deposited last.