Radioactive decay and dating rocks

However, the crater number relation must be calibrated against something with a known age.To measure the passage of long periods of time, scientists take advantage of a regularity in certain unstable atoms.And radioactive dating is so shrouded with mystery that many don’t even try to understand how the method works; they just believe it must be right.But the basic concept of radioactive dating, sometimes called radiometric dating, is not difficult, especially since all of us regularly calculate how much time has passed: for example, since our birth, or since we started on a walk.Measuring the uranium-to-lead ratios in the oldest rocks on Earth gave scientists an estimated age of the planet of 4.6 billion years.

For example, looking at a series of layers in the side of a cliff, the younger layers will be on top of the older layers.Scientists, using rigorous methods have established a process to eliminate this problem by calibrating radiocarbon dating results to items of a known age.In this way, items of unknown age can be tested and an age determined to a reasonable degree of accuracy. More tomorrow where we explore the concept of isochron dating and how it neatly destroys most of the rest of these ‘issues’.THANKS AGAIN AND I HOPE THE DEVELOPERS MAKE MORE WEBSITES ABOUT SCIENCE TO HELP ME OUT!!Many people assume that the dates scientists quote of millions of years are as reliable as our knowledge of the structure of the atom or nuclear power.

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