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Radiocarbon dating is one kind of radiometric dating, used for determining the age of organic remains that are less than 50,000 years old.For inorganic matter and for older materials, isotopes of other elements, such as potassium, uranium, and strontium, are used.Here is one example of an isochron, based on measurements of basaltic meteorites (in this case the resulting date is 4.4 billion years) [Basaltic1981, pg. Skeptics of old-earth geology make great hay of these examples.For example, creationist writer Henry Morris [Morris2000, pg.Together with stratigraphic principles, radiometric dating methods are used in geochronology to establish the geological time scale.Among the best-known techniques are radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon dating and uranium-lead dating.The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date.Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain "glitches" and "anomalies," as noted in the literature.
The potassium-argon age of some meteorites is as old as 4,500,000,000 years, and volcanic rocks as young as 20,000 years old have been measured by this method.
The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples.
Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.
The calcium-potassium age method is seldom used, however, because of the great abundance of nonradiogenic calcium in minerals or rocks, which masks the presence of radiogenic calcium.
On the other hand, the abundance of argon in the is relatively small because of its escape to the atmosphere during processes associated with volcanism.