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Different dating methods may be needed to confirm the age of a sample.
For example, a study of the Amitsoq gneisses from western Greenland used five different radiometric dating methods to examine twelve samples and got agreement to within 30 million years on an age of 3,640my.
A commonly used radiometric dating technique relies on the breakdown of potassium (Ar in an igneous rock can tell us the amount of time that has passed since the rock crystallized.
Many geologists claim that radiometric “clocks” show rocks to be millions of years old.
Contamination from outside, or the loss of isotopes at any time from the rock's original formation, would change the result.
It is therefore essential to have as much information as possible about the material being dated and to check for possible signs of alteration.
For organic materials, the comparison is between the current ratio of a radioactive isotope to a stable isotope of the same element and the known ratio of the two isotopes in living organisms.
Radiocarbon dating is one such type of radiometric dating.