Process of radiometric dating

by  |  22-Jan-2020 10:40

As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades.After the second half-life has elapsed, yet another 50% of the remaining parent isotope will decay into daughter isotopes, and so on.

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The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.

But, how can we determine how old a rock formation is, if it hasn’t previously been dated?

Simply counting the number of rings will give one a fairly good idea of the age of the tree.

Periods of heavy rain and lots of sunshine will make larger gaps of growth in the rings, while periods of drought might make it difficult to count individual rings. When a given quantity of an isotope is created (in a supernovae, for example), after the half-life has expired, 50% of the parent isotope will have decomposed into daughter isotopes.

Radiometric dating is possible because the radioactive decay of large numbers of radioactive atoms follows a predictable pattern.

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