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Most absolute dates for rocks are obtained by radiometric methods methods, which are based on the radioactive decay of certain chemical elements.

Most radiometric methods directly measure the isotopes and their decay products in rock samples.

The longer the crystal had been buried, the brighter the luminescence.

When heat is shone on the sample, the dating method is called thermoluminescence.

The longer the crystals are in the sediment, the more radiation is trapped.

Before the crystals were buried in the sediment, they were carried along by rivers or wind.

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Apatite and zircon separates from the Fish Canyon Tuff (K-Ar age, 27.9?? 0.7 Myr), San Juan Mtns., Colorado, have been given to over 50 laboratories for fission-track dating. Nineteen laboratories have reported fission-track ages that they have determined for apatites. 10-17 yr-1 for the spontaneous-fission decay constant of 238U, report an average age for the apatite of 28.5?? Tracks start building up after the crystals have cooled and settled in a layer on the ground or at the bottom of the sea.This measures how long certain minerals have been exposed to natural radiation.

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