These techniques, unlike carbon dating, mostly use the relative concentrations of parent and daughter products in radioactive decay chains.
For example, potassium-40 decays to argon-40; uranium-238 decays to lead-206 via other elements like radium; uranium-235 decays to lead-207; rubidium-87 decays to strontium-87; etc.
Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.
One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or C ratio gets smaller.
These techniques are applied to igneous rocks, and are normally seen as giving the time since solidification.
The isotope concentrations can be measured very accurately, but isotope concentrations are not dates.
We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods.