Isochron dating site
An atom with the same number of protons in the nucleus but a different number of neutrons is called an isotope.For example, uranium-238 is an isotope of uranium-235, because it has 3 more neutrons in the nucleus.(Creationists claim that argon escape renders age determinations invalid.However, any escaping argon gas would lead to a determined age younger, not older, than actual.Therefore the amount of argon formed provides a direct measurement of the amount of potassium-40 present in the specimen when it was originally formed.Because argon is an inert gas, it is not possible that it might have been in the mineral when it was first formed from molten magma.
Carbon-14 dating: See Carbon 14 Dating in this web site.
If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.
Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.
(Note that this does not mean that the ratios are the same everywhere on earth.
It merely means that the ratios are the same in the particular magma from which the test sample was later taken.) As strontium-87 forms, its ratio to strontium-86 will increase.