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The ions then travel through a magnetic field, which diverts them into different sampling sensors, known as " Faraday cups ", depending on their mass and level of ionization. For dates up to a few million years micas , tektites glass fragments from volcanic eruptions , and meteorites are best used. Due to its long half-life, U is the best isotope for radioactive dating, particularly of older fossils and rocks. In the Grand Canyon, the layers of strata are nearly horizontal. Using the principle of faunal succession, if an unidentified fossil is found in the same rock layer as an index fossil, the two species must have existed during the same period of time Figure 4. All elements contain protons and neutrons, located in the atomic nucleus, and electrons that orbit around the nucleus Figure 5a. Geologists also use other methods - such as electron spin resonance and thermoluminescence, which assess the effects of radioactivity on the accumulation of electrons in imperfections, or "traps," in the crystal structure of a mineral - to determine the age of the rocks or fossils. For example, there is a specific interval of time, indicated by the red box, during which both the blue ammonite and orange ammonite co-existed. Luckily, there are methods, such as the commonly used potassium-argon K-Ar method, that allows dating of materials that are beyond the limit of radiocarbon dating Table 1. Carbon is a radioactive isotope of carbon, with a half-life of 5, years,   which is very short compared with the above isotopes and decays into nitrogen. Isotopes Used for Dating There are several common radioactive isotopes that are used for dating rocks, artifacts and fossils.
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