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It is an accurate way to date specific geologic events. This is an enormous branch of geochemistry called Geochronology. There are many radiometric clocks and when applied to appropriate materials, the dating can be very accurate. As one example, the first minerals to crystallize condense from the hot cloud of gasses that surrounded the Sun as it first became a star have been dated to plus or minus 2 million years!! That is pretty accurate!!! Other events on earth can be dated equally well given the right minerals. For example, a problem I have worked on involving the eruption of a volcano at what is now Naples, Italy, occurred years ago with a plus or minus of years.

From careful physics and chemistry experiments, we know that parents turn into daughters at a very consistent, predictable rate. A geologist can pick up a rock from a mountainside somewhere, and bring it back to the lab, and separate out the individual minerals that compose the rock.

They can then look at a single mineral, and using an instrument called a mass spectrometer, they can measure the amount of parent and the amount of daughter in that mineral. The ratio of the parent to daughter then can be used to back-calculate the age of that rock. Pretty cool! The reason we know that radiometric dating works so well is because we can use several different isotope systems for example, Uranium-Lead, Lutetium-Halfnium, Potassium-Argon on the same rock, and they all come up with the same age.

This gives geologists great confidence that the method correctly determines when that rock formed. Hope that helps, and please ask if you'd like more details! Great question! I think that I will start by answering the second part of your question, just because I think that will make the answer to the first question clearer. Radiometric dating is the use of radioactive and radiogenic those formed from the decay of radioactive parents isotopes isotopes are atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei to determine the age of something.

It is commonly used in earth science to determine the age of rock formations or features or to figure out how fast geologic processes take place for example, how fast marine terraces on Santa Cruz island are being uplifted. Radiometric dating relies on the principle of radioactive decay.

Radiometric Dating Debunked in 3 Minutes

All radioactive isotopes have a characteristic half-life the amount of time that it takes for one half of the original number of atoms of that isotope to decay.

By measuring the parent isotope radioactive and the daughter isotope radiogenic in a system for example, a rockwe can tell how long the system has been closed in our example, when the rock formed. The process of radiogenic dating is usually done using some sort of mass spectrometer.

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A mass spectrometer is an instrument that separates atoms based on their mass. Because geochronologists want to measure isotopes with different masses, a mass spectrometer works really well for dating things. I do think that radiometric dating is an accurate way to date the earth, although I am a geochronologist so I have my biases. Most estimates of the age of the earth come from dating meteorites that have fallen to Earth because we think that they formed in our solar nebula very close to the time that the earth formed.

Radiometric Dating Is Not Inaccurate

The fact that the age we calculate is reproducible for these different systems is significant. We have also obtained a very similar age by measuring Pb isotopes in materials from earth. I should mention that the decay constants basically a value that indicates how fast a certain radioactive isotope will decay for some of these isotope systems were calculated by assuming that the age of the earth is 4.

The decay constants for most of these systems have been confirmed in other ways, adding strength to our argument for the age of the earth. Radiometric dating depends on the chemistry and ratios of different elements.

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It works like this:. Take, for example, zircon, which is a mineral; its chemical formula is ZiSiO 4so there is one zirconium Zi for one silicon Si for four oxygen O. One of the elements that can stand in chemically for zircon is uranium.

Uranium eventually decays into lead, and lead does not normally occur in zircon, except as the radioactive decay product of uranium. Therefore, by measuring the ratio of lead to uranium in a crystal of zircon, you can tell how much uranium there originally was in the crystal, which, combined with knowing the radioactive half-life of uranium, tells you how old the crystal is.

Obviously, if the substance you are measuring is contaminated, then all you know is the age since contamination, or worse, you don't know anything, because the contamination might be in the opposite direction - suppose, for example, you're looking at radio carbon carbon 14, which is produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays, and which decays into nitrogen.

Since you are exposed to the atmosphere and contain carbon, if you get oils from your skin onto an archeological artifact, then attempting to date it using radio carbon will fail because you are measuring the age of the oils on your skin, not the age of the artifact. This is why crystals are good for radiometric dating: the atoms in a crystal are extremely efficiently packed, and it's very difficult to get anything into a crystal such as a contaminant by any means short of destroying the crystal and re-growing it anew.

The oldest crystals on Earth that were formed on Earth are zircon crystals, and are approximately 4.

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Asteroids in the solar system have been clocked at 4. We assume that the Earth is probably as old as the asteroids, because we believe the solar system to have formed from a collapsing nebula, and that the Earth, being geologically active, has simply destroyed any older zircon crystals that would be its true age, but we can't really be certain.

The building blocks that the Earth is made of, the asteroids are 4. Based on astronomical models of how stars work, we also believe the Sun to be about 4. Radiometric dating is a widely accepted technique that measures the rate of decay of naturally occurring elements that have been incorporated into rocks and fossils.

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Every element is defined by the particular number of protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up it's atoms. Sometimes, the number of neutrons within the atom is off. On the lighter side Boy atoms and girl atoms have the same chance of finding 'the one' as any one of us humans.

There will be one other radioactive isotope which is perfect for another, and to find this we use radioactive dating. Common locations for radioactive dates are the cinema, theatre or the ozone layer, and quite often end in what we call 'bonding', a euphemism for atoms 'hooking up'. Related Questions Asked in Science Is radioactive dating a scientific theory?

Yes, radiometric dating is a very accurate way to date the know it is accurate because radiometric dating is based on the radioactive decay of unstable isotopes. For example, the element Uranium exists as one of several isotopes, some of which are unstable. Apr 14,   Radiometric dating is known to be accurate not because it is assumed to accurate, but rather by cross-checking and proving it is accurate. Con is correct that rock samples selected for argon dating cannot have been exposed to air. Radioactive isotopes are unstable and will decay into more stable isotopes of other elements. One common radiometric dating method is the Uranium-Lead method. This involves uranium isotopes with an atomic mass of This is the most common form of uranium. It decays by a step process into lead, which is stable. Each step involves the.

No, it is a method of dating materials that is very accurate. Asked in Dating Does radioactive dating produce exact results? No, radioactive dating does not produce exact results. No form of radioactive dating produces exact results.

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But results can be gotten that are surprisingly accurate. As a "for instance" we might look at uranium-lead dating.

This dating method can deliver results accurate to a million or two years in a billion years. That's about 0.

Radioactive dating accurate

Asked in Fossils, Geology, Paleontology Is stratigraphic dating accurate for dating fossils? Carbon dating and radioactive dating are more effective, assuming those arn't the same thing.

Asked in Geology Radioactive dating of rock samples is a method? It's an absolute dating system since one can determine accurate ages from number of remaining radioactive atoms in the rock sample.

Radiometric Dating is Accurate

Asked in Physics, Chemistry What controversy exists in using radioactive dating? Not everyone believes that radioactive dating is accurate. There are people out there who don't believe the earth is older then 10, years old claiming that there is no way that dinosaur fossils can be as old as they say they are. Asked in Biology What element does radioactive dating measure? Relative dating - Absolute dating Radioactive elements. Asked in Biology How is radioactive dating performed?

Radioactive elements tend to degrade or give off radiation at a constant rate. That is an essential part of radioactive carbon dating.

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Uranium, for instance has a has half life of 5, years. Each 5, years, half of the uranium becomes inert lead. It is considered an accurate form of dating. Asked in Geology, Paleontology, Fossils Does radioactive dating tell the relative age of rocks?

Radioactive dating is an absolute dating tool. Asked in Physics, Paleontology, Archaeology Explain why radioactive decay must be constant in order for radiometric dating to be accurate? Amount of certain radioactive isotope in an object is compared with a reference amount.

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Radioactive dating is used to find the absolute age of the rock in which the fossils are found, thus providing a fairly accurate age of the fossil. Please see the link provided on how the age of a fossil is determined.

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A radioactive isotope is an atom unstable, which emit nuclear radiation. Radioactive dating is based on the properties of radioactive isotopes, essentially half life and radioactive decay. Asked in Chemistry Radioactive dating enables geologists to determine what?

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The age of rocks can be determined by radioactive dating. Carbon 14 is most commonly used for radioactive dating. Asked in Chemistry, Radioactive Decay How does carbon dating and radioactive decay compare? Carbon dating is based on radioactive decay.

Carbon, Radiometric Dating and Index Fossils Carbon dating is used to determine the age of biological artifacts up to 50, years old. This technique is widely used on recent artifacts, but educators and students alike should note that this technique will not work on older fossils (like those of the dinosaurs alleged to be millions of years old). Radioactive dating is used to find the absolute age of the rock in which the fossils are found, thus providing a fairly accurate age of the fossil. Please see the link provided on how the age of a. The fatal flaw with radioactive dating methods; How accurate is Carbon (and other radiometric) dating? A Christian response to radiometric dating; Radioactive dating methods; Geological conflict; The dating game; How dating methods work; Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth; Plumbing and Paradigms; Geochronology: Understanding the.

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