Radiometric dating notes

It has assumed something of the status of a universal constant to which all other data must be fitted, thus it has become common practice to assume that data which does not fit this result is either wrong or unintelligible. Lead-204, a minor isotope of common lead, has no radioactive parent and is believed to be primordial lead.

Lead-206 and lead-207 are also believed to be present in primordial lead since there is insufficient uranium to account for all the lead.

All rocks and minerals contain long-lived radioactive elements that were incorporated into Earth when the Solar System formed.

These radioactive elements constitute independent clocks that allow geologists to determine the age of the rocks in which they occur.

For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles and Further Reading below.

Before 1955, ages for the Earth based on uranium/thorium/lead ratios were generally about a billion years younger than the currently popular 4.5 billion years. old Earth is reviewed and deficiencies of the uranium/lead method are discussed.

Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence that the Earth and the other bodies of the Solar System are 4.5-4.6 billion years old, and that the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe are older still.

The principal evidence for the antiquity of Earth and its cosmic surroundings is: Spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei, termed radioactive decay, is the basis for all radiometric dating methods.

Since 1955 the estimate for the age of the Earth has been based on the assumption that certain meteorite lead isotope ratios are equivalent to the primordial lead isotope ratios on Earth.

The requirements of the assumptions in the lead ore method are so extreme it is unlikely that it should give a correct age.” So they took a different approach.

They estimated the age of the Earth by substituting the lead isotope ratios of certain meteorites in the Holmes-Houtermans equation.

The radioactive parent elements used to date rocks and minerals are: Radiometric dating using the naturally-occurring radioactive elements is simple in concept even though technically complex.

If we know the number of radioactive parent atoms present when a rock formed and the number present now, we can calculate the age of the rock using the decay constant.

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