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There are many radiometric clocks and when applied to appropriate materials, the dating can be very accurate.
As one example, the first minerals to crystallize (condense) from the hot cloud of gasses that surrounded the Sun as it first became a star have been dated to 4568 plus or minus 2 million years....!! Other events on earth can be dated equally well given the right minerals.
We call the original, unstable isotope (Uranium) the "parent", and the product of decay (Lead) the "daughter".
From careful physics and chemistry experiments, we know that parents turn into daughters at a very consistent, predictable rate.
All radioactive isotopes have a characteristic half-life (the amount of time that it takes for one half of the original number of atoms of that isotope to decay).
By measuring the parent isotope (radioactive) and the daughter isotope (radiogenic) in a system (for example, a rock), we can tell how long the system has been closed (in our example, when the rock formed).
This is an enormous branch of geochemistry called Geochronology.
We know it is accurate because radiometric dating is based on the radioactive decay of unstable isotopes.The decay constants for most of these systems have been confirmed in other ways, adding strength to our argument for the age of the earth., so there is one zirconium (Zi) for one silicon (Si) for four oxygen (O).One of the elements that can stand in chemically for zircon is uranium.The process of radiogenic dating is usually done using some sort of mass spectrometer.A mass spectrometer is an instrument that separates atoms based on their mass.
The ratio of the parent to daughter then can be used to back-calculate the age of that rock. The reason we know that radiometric dating works so well is because we can use several different isotope systems (for example, Uranium-Lead, Lutetium-Halfnium, Potassium-Argon) on the same rock, and they all come up with the same age.