What process is radiometric dating based on

09 Nov

Here I want to concentrate on another source of error, namely, processes that take place within magma chambers.

To me it has been a real eye opener to see all the processes that are taking place and their potential influence on radiometric dating.

Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.

Prior to 1905 the best and most accepted age of the Earth was that proposed by Lord Kelvin based on the amount of time necessary for the Earth to cool to its present temperature from a completely liquid state.

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The only problem is that we only know the number of daughter atoms now present, and some of those may have been present prior to the start of our clock. The reason for this is that Rb has become distributed unequally through the Earth over time.

We can see how do deal with this if we take a particular case. For example the amount of Rb in mantle rocks is generally low, i.e. The mantle thus has a low If these two independent dates are the same, we say they are concordant.

Most scientists today believe that life has existed on the earth for billions of years.

Although we now recognize lots of problems with that calculation, the age of 25 my was accepted by most physicists, but considered too short by most geologists. Recognition that radioactive decay of atoms occurs in the Earth was important in two respects: Principles of Radiometric Dating Radioactive decay is described in terms of the probability that a constituent particle of the nucleus of an atom will escape through the potential (Energy) barrier which bonds them to the nucleus.

The energies involved are so large, and the nucleus is so small that physical conditions in the Earth (i.e. The rate of decay or rate of change of the number N of particles is proportional to the number present at any time, i.e.