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Radiometric dating techniques rocks

radiometric dating techniques rocks-49

Thus in this case, as in many others that have been raised by skeptics of old-earth geology, the "anomaly" is more imaginary than real.

Scientists date igneous rock using elements that are slow to decay, such as uranium and potassium.The use of different dating methods on the same rock is an excellent way to check the accuracy of age results.If two or more radiometric clocks based on different elements and running at different rates give the same age, that's powerful evidence that the ages are probably correct.We scientists who measure isotope ages do not rely entirely on the error estimates and the self-checking features of age diagnostic diagrams to evaluate the accuracy of radiometric ages.Whenever possible we design an age study to take advantage of other ways of checking the reliability of the age measurements.The simplest means is to repeat the analytical measurements in order to check for laboratory errors.

Another method is to make age measurements on several samples from the same rock unit.

The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements.

Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.

Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.

The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date.

Vast amounts of data overwhelmingly favor an old Earth.