Sedimentary rocks may have radioactive elements in them, but they have been re-worked from other rocks, so essentially, there radiometric clock has not been re-set back to zero. However, sedimentary rocks can be age dated if a volcanic ash horizon or a diabase sill or dyke can be found within the sequence.
Can you use isotopic dating for sedimentary rocks?
Isotope Pairs. In most cases, we cannot use isotopic techniques to directly date fossils or the sedimentary rocks in which they are found, but we can constrain their ages by dating igneous rocks that cut across sedimentary rocks, or volcanic ash layers that lie within sedimentary layers.
What are the limitations of radiometric methods of dating sedimentary rocks?
Radiometric dating is a very useful tool, but it does have limits: The material being dated must have measurable amounts of the parent and/or the daughter isotopes. Radiometric dating can be done on only some materials. It is not useful for determining the age of sedimentary rocks.
Which type of rock is mostly used in radiometric dating?
Sedimentary rocks can be dated using radioactive carbon, but because carbon decays relatively quickly, this only works for rocks younger than about 50 thousand years. So in order to date most older fossils, scientists look for layers of igneous rock or volcanic ash above and below the fossil.