Radiometric dating earth science dating site for ugly
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.
There are many radiometric clocks and when applied to appropriate materials, the dating can be very accurate.
From careful physics and chemistry experiments, we know that parents turn into daughters at a very consistent, predictable rate.
For an example of how geologists use radiometric dating, read on: 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. 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.
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There are at least 67 different uniformitarian (the present is the key to the past) methods of dating the earth other than long-age radiometric dating: each of which yield ages of less than 500 million years.