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If the nucleus has not yet decayed, there is always that same, slight chance that it will change in the near future.Atomic nuclei are held together by an attraction between the large nuclear particles (protons and neutrons) that is known as the "strong nuclear force", which must exceed the electrostatic repulsion between the protons within the nucleus.Principle of cross-cutting relations: Any geologic feature is younger than anything else that it cuts across.Some elements have forms (called isotopes) with unstable atomic nuclei that have a tendency to change, or decay. Students not only want to know how old a fossil is, but they want to know how that age was determined.

Each of these unstable isotopes has its own characteristic half life.

This happens at any time when addition of the fleeting "weak nuclear force" to the ever-present electrostatic repulsion exceeds the binding energy required to hold the nucleus together.

Very careful measurements in laboratories, made on VERY LARGE numbers of U-235 atoms, have shown that each of the atoms has a chance of decaying during about 704,000,000 years.

U-235 is the parent isotope of Pb-207, which is the daughter isotope.

Many rocks contain small amounts of unstable isotopes and the daughter isotopes into which they decay.

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