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Fossils can't form in the igneous rock that usually does contain the isotopes.The extreme temperatures of the magma would just destroy the bones.By using radiometric dating to determine the age of igneous brackets, researchers can accurately determine the age of the sedimentary layers between them.Using the basic ideas of bracketing and radiometric dating, researchers have determined the age of rock layers all over the world.Measuring the uranium-to-lead ratios in the oldest rocks on Earth gave scientists an estimated age of the planet of 4.6 billion years.Segment from A Science Odyssey: "Origins."Geologists have calculated the age of Earth at 4.6 billion years.

But this sediment doesn't typically include the necessary isotopes in measurable amounts.

Certain isotopes are unstable and undergo a process of radioactive decay, slowly and steadily transforming, molecule by molecule, into a different isotope.

This rate of decay is constant for a given isotope, and the time it takes for one-half of a particular isotope to decay is its radioactive half-life.

Based on the analysis of these samples, scientists estimate that the Earth itself is about 4.5 billion years old.

In addition, the oldest known moon rocks are 4.5 billion years old.

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