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What radioactive materials actually do is decay according to a law: Decays/Time = K * Number of atoms K is a constant called the decay constant.
Let t stand for time and N(t) stand for the number of atoms at time t .
If the ratio is constant, we can be pretty sure there's been no gain or loss.Uranium-lead dating methods often use this approach because some of the minerals used in dating lose the lead decay products over time.It's amazing how often people fail to realize that you can't date materials if they don't have the necessary ingredients. You can't use carbon-14 to date an arrowhead with no carbon in it.Crystallization of a mineral is a good way to close a system. Any disturbance of the system effectively resets the clock to zero by allowing decay products to escape or reshuffling the abundances of elements.Weathering and metamorphism are the two most common ways to disturb a system.