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The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom is called its atomic number.

The sum of protons plus neutrons is the mass number.

Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.

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Since the 1950s, geologists have used radioactive elements as natural "clocks" for determining numerical ages of certain types of rocks. "Forms" means the moment an igneous rock solidifies from magma, a sedimentary rock layer is deposited, or a rock heated by metamorphism cools off.

It's this resetting process that gives us the ability to date rocks that formed at different times in earth history.

The technique of comparing the abundance ratio of a radioactive isotope to a reference isotope to determine the age of a material is called radioactive dating.

Many isotopes have been studied, probing a wide range of time scales.

When living things die, they stop taking in carbon-14, and the radioactive clock is "set"!

Any dead material incorporated with sedimentary deposits is a possible candidate for carbon-14 dating.

The ratio of calcium formed to argon formed is fixed and known.

Therefore the amount of argon formed provides a direct measurement of the amount of potassium-40 present in the specimen when it was originally formed.

Radioactive elements were incorporated into the Earth when the Solar System formed.

All rocks and minerals contain tiny amounts of these radioactive elements.

For example, uranium-238 is an isotope of uranium-235, because it has 3 more neutrons in the nucleus.

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