What is radioactive dating based on

08-Aug-2016 17:52 by 8 Comments

What is radioactive dating based on - accepted reasons for backdating income support

Part 2 explains how scientists run into problems when they make assumptions about what happened .An hourglass is a helpful analogy to explain how geologists calculate the ages of rocks.

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No geologists were present when most rocks formed, so they cannot test whether the original rocks already contained daughter isotopes alongside their parent radioisotopes.We find places on the North Rim where volcanoes erupted after the Canyon was formed, sending lavas cascading over the walls and down into the Canyon.Obviously, these eruptions took place very recently, after the Canyon’s layers were deposited ().To date a radioactive rock, geologists first measure the “sand grains” in the top glass bowl (the parent radioisotope, such as uranium-238 or potassium-40).They also measure the sand grains in the bottom bowl (the daughter isotope, such as lead-206 or argon-40, respectively).When we look at sand in an hourglass, we can estimate how much time has passed based on the amount of sand that has fallen to the bottom.

Radioactive rocks offer a similar “clock.” Radioactive atoms, such as uranium (the parent isotopes), decay into stable atoms, such as lead (the daughter isotopes), at a measurable rate.

Because of such contamination, the less than 50-year-old lava flows at Mt.

Ngauruhoe, New Zealand (), yield a rubidium-strontium “age” of 133 million years, a samarium-neodymium “age” of 197 million years, and a uranium-lead “age” of 3.908 billion years!

For example, with regard to the volcanic lavas that erupted, flowed, and cooled to form rocks in the unobserved past, evolutionary geologists simply assume that none of the daughter argon-40 atoms was in the lava rocks.

For the other radioactive “clocks,” it is assumed that by analyzing multiple samples of a rock body, or unit, today it is possible to determine how much of the daughter isotopes (lead, strontium, or neodymium) were present when the rock formed (via the so-called isochron technique, which is still based on unproven assumptions 2 and 3).

Yet this view is based on a misunderstanding of how radiometric dating works.

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