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Dendrochronology: Also known as tree-ring dating, the science concerned with determining the age of trees by examining their growth rings.
Half-life: Measurement of the time it takes for one-half of a radioactive substance to decay.
Narrow rings grow in cold or dry years, and wide rings grow in warm or wet years.
The rings form a distinctive pattern, which is the same for all members in a given species and geographical area.
When carbon-14 falls to Earth, it is absorbed by plants.
The range of conventional radiocarbon dating is 30,000 to 40,000 years.
Eventually, the entire ecosystem (community of plants and animals) of the planet, including humans, is filled with a concentration of carbon-14.
As long as an organism is alive, the supply of carbon-14 is replenished.
Radioactive decay: The predictable manner in which a population of atoms of a radioactive element spontaneously disintegrate over time.
Stratigraphy: Study of layers of rocks or the objects embedded within those layers.
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These include the uranium-thorium method, the potassium-argon method, and the rubidium-strontium method. Thermoluminescence (pronounced ther-moeloo-mi-NES-ence) dating is very useful for determining the age of pottery.