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Correlation with them has helped geologists date many New Zealand rocks, including those containing dinosaurs.Bring relative dating principles to life with the activity Rock layers and relative dating.Radioactive isotopes are useful in dating geological materials, because they convert or decay at a constant, and therefore measurable, rate.An unstable radioactive isotope, which is the 'parent' of one chemical element, naturally decays to form a stable nonradioactive isotope, or 'daughter,' of another element by emitting particles such as protons from the nucleus.Different species of ammonites lived at different times within the Mesozoic, so identifying a fossil species can help narrow down when a rock was formed.Correlation can involve matching an undated rock with a dated one at another location.

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By definition an element is a substance that cannot be broken into a simpler form by ordinary chemical means.The discovery of radioactivity late in the 19th century enabled scientists to develop techniques for accurately determining the ages of fossils, rocks, and events in Earth's history in the distant past.For example, through isotopic dating we've learned that Cambrian fossils are about 540-500 million years old, that the oldest known fossils are found in rocks that are about 3.8 billion years old, and that planet Earth is about 4.6 billion years old.Geologists have studied the order in which fossils appeared and disappeared through time and rocks. Fossils can help to match rocks of the same age, even when you find those rocks a long way apart.This matching process is called correlation, which has been an important process in constructing geological timescales.

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