Radiometric dating example problems

We can measure directly, for example by using a radiation detector, and obtain a good estimate of by analyzing the chemical composition of the sample.

The half-life , specific to each nuclide, can be accurately measured on a pure sample, and is known to be independent of the chemical composition of the sample, temperature and pressure.

This method for rock dating is based on the decay of potassium-40 into argon: until the rock solidifies, argon can escape, so it can in theory date the formation of rock.

This leaves out important information which would tell you how precise is the dating result.

Carbon-14 dating has an interesting limitation in that the ratio of regular carbon to carbon-14 in the air is not constant and therefore any date must be calibrated using dendrochronology.

Radiometric dating — through processes similar to those outlined in the example problem above — frequently reveals that rocks, fossils, etc.

are very much older than the approximately 6,000 to 10,000 years reckoned by young earth creationists.

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