Radiometric dating lecture Radiometric dating lecture

Radiometric dating lecture

A major assumption is that the rock or mineral being dated has been a closed system so that no parent isotope or daughter product has escaped or been added.

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This depends on what system is being used, which determines what type of event is being dated. Diagram focusing on some short-lived radioactive isotopes, including carbon What event sets the clock, or more succinctly, when is the system closed?

Diagram from USGS website: Return to Physical Geology index page. Material may be used for non-profit educational datings lecture as long as proper attribution is given.

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The earth is about 4. This assumption can be tested for. Radiometric dating - internal clocks in rocks Geochronology: After one half live, half of the original radioactive isotope material in the system under consideration decays.

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Some of these other isotope systems are also used for dating purposes. Forced decay is when the isotopic material is packed densely enough that a decay in one unstable atom sends out a particle that hits another atom and causes it to decay.

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For more information on radioactivity and geochronology - USGS site - http: If it is packed too densely there is a run away reaction and one of those unpopular mushroom clouds or meltdowns. This is for unforced decay.

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Radioactive decay occurs at an exponential rate, meaning that it can be described in terms of a half life. For permission for any other use please contact author.

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Another half life and half of the remaining material decays, and so on. What geologic materials can be dated?

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Normal concentrations of radioactive material on earth are well below the levels where forced decay occurs so we can use the relatively simple mathematics of exponential decay to describe the process. Accuracy, error and testing the technique.

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