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For example, decay of the parent isotope Rb-87 (Rubidium) produces a stable daughter isotope, Sr-87 (Strontium), while releasing a beta particle (an electron from the nucleus).("87" is the atomic mass number = protons neutrons.By matching similar fossils in different regions throughout the world, correlations were built up over many years.
However, a more powerful tool was the fossilised remains of ancient animals and plants within the rock strata.
Once formations and stratigraphic sequences were mapped around the world, sequences could be matched from the faunal successions.
These sequences apply from the beginning of the Cambrian period, which contains the first evidence of macro-fossils.
However, the end of the Devonian was marked by the predominance of a different life form, plants, which in turn denotes the beginning of the Carboniferous Period.
The different periods can be further subdivided (e.g.
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The basic equation of radiometric dating requires that neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product can enter or leave the material after its formation.