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For example, fission track dating measures the microscopic marks left in crystals by subatomic particles from decaying isotopes.Another example is luminescence dating, which measures the energy from radioactive decay that is trapped inside nearby crystals.
They use absolute dating methods, sometimes called numerical dating, to give rocks an actual date, or date range, in number of years.
Others measure the subatomic particles that are emitted as an isotope decays.
Some measure the decay of isotopes more indirectly.
When ‘parent’ uranium-238 decays, for example, it produces subatomic particles, energy and ‘daughter’ lead-206.
Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.