How certain are scientists that the earth is many millions of years old?

Radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials based on a knowledge of the decay rates of naturally occurring isotopes , and the current abundances. It is our principal source of information about the age of the Earth and a significant source of information about rates of evolutionary change. All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements , each with its own atomic number , indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus. Additionally, elements may exist in different isotopes , with each isotope of an element differing only in the number of neutrons in the nucleus. A particular isotope of a particular element is called a nuclide. Some nuclides are inherently unstable. That is, at some random point in time, an atom of such a nuclide will be transformed into a different nuclide by the process known as radioactive decay.

Age of the Universe

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees by far the largest scientific research budget in the world. Paul C. Broun R-Ga.

Although the unreliability of the Rb-Sr method for dating is readily for the strontium content of the Bulk Silicate Earth (crust plus mantle) range from A.E., Jagoutz, E. and Hofmann, A.W., Potassium, rubidium, and caesium in.

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Age dating

Rubidium-strontium dating , method of estimating the age of rocks, minerals, and meteorites from measurements of the amount of the stable isotope strontium formed by the decay of the unstable isotope rubidium that was present in the rock at the time of its formation. Rubidium comprises The method is applicable to very old rocks because the transformation is extremely slow: the half-life, or time required for half the initial quantity of rubidium to disappear, is approximately 50 billion years.

Most minerals that contain rubidium also have some strontium incorporated when the mineral was formed, so a correction must be made for this initial amount of strontium to obtain the radiogenic increment i.

Parent, Daughter, Half Life(years), Dating Range(years), Minerals/materials Rubidium, Strontium, 47,million, 10 – 4, million, Muscovite, Biotite.

Rubidium has two isotopes 85 Rb When a mineral crystallizes, it will usually incorporate both rubidium and strontium ions and the ratio of Rb to Sr will vary depending on the mineral involved. Using these proportions it is possible to identify the amount of radiogenic 87 Sr present. Originally the above proportions were assumed, but today it is more usual to plot 87 Sr: 86 Sr against 87 Rb: 86 Sr to produce a straight-line isochron from which the age of the mineral can be determined.

When using the 87 Rb: 86 Sr method it is customary to use whole-rock samples in the analysis, because although 87 Sr may leak from one mineral to adjacent minerals over time it usually remains in the system. The method has particularly been applied to ancient metamorphic rocks. August 11,

Radioactive Dating

There are at least 3 ways that the age of the Universe can be estimated. I will describe The age of the chemical elements. The age of the oldest star clusters.

Mineral dating with Rb/Sr-Isotope system Rubidium-Strontium isotope system for dating of minerals. ▫ 87Rb (mother Dynamic range.

The rubidium-strontium dating method is a radiometric dating technique used by scientists to determine the age of rocks and minerals from the quantities they contain of specific isotopes of rubidium 87 Rb and strontium 87 Sr, 86 Sr. Development of this process was aided by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann , who later went on to discover nuclear fission in December The utility of the rubidium — strontium isotope system results from the fact that 87 Rb one of two naturally occurring isotopes of rubidium decays to 87 Sr with a half-life of In addition, Rb is a highly incompatible element that, during partial melting of the mantle, prefers to join the magmatic melt rather than remain in mantle minerals.

As a result, Rb is enriched in crustal rocks. The radiogenic daughter, 87 Sr, is produced in this decay process and was produced in rounds of stellar nucleosynthesis predating the creation of the Solar System. During fractional crystallization , Sr tends to become concentrated in plagioclase , leaving Rb in the liquid phase. Highest ratios 10 or higher occur in pegmatites. For example, consider the case of an igneous rock such as a granite that contains several major Sr-bearing minerals including plagioclase feldspar , K-feldspar , hornblende , biotite , and muscovite.

Uranium thorium dating

Roger C. Wiens has a PhD in Physics, with a minor in Geology. His PhD thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating. First edition ; revised version

In all radiometric procedures there is a specific age range for when a technique can In rubidium-strontium dating a rubidium isotope becomes the daughter​.

The radioactive decay of rubidium 87 Rb to strontium 87 Sr was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method. Because rubidium is concentrated in crustal rocks, the continents have a much higher abundance of the daughter isotope strontium compared with the stable isotopes. A ratio for average continental crust of about 0.

This difference may appear small, but, considering that modern instruments can make the determination to a few parts in 70,, it is quite significant. Dissolved strontium in the oceans today has a value of 0. Thus, if well-dated, unaltered fossil shells containing strontium from ancient seawater are analyzed, changes in this ratio with time can be observed and applied in reverse to estimate the time when fossils of unknown age were deposited. The rubidium—strontium pair is ideally suited for the isochron dating of igneous rocks.

Rubidium-Strontium method

On this Site. Common Types of Radiometric Dating. Carbon 14 Dating. As shown in the diagram above, the radioactive isotope carbon originates in the Earth’s atmosphere, is distributed among the living organisms on the surface, and ceases to replenish itself within an organism after that organism is dead. This means that lifeless organic matter is effectively a closed system, since no carbon enters the organism after death, an occurrence that would affect accurate measurements.

In radiometric dating, the decaying matter is called the parent isotope and the stable outcome of the decay is called the daughter product.

The article claims that the maximum range of model ages is to billion years. 17 If we run the isotopic ratios through Microsoft Excel we get ages from 4 to.

A technician of the U. Geological Survey uses a mass spectrometer to determine the proportions of neodymium isotopes contained in a sample of igneous rock. Cloth wrappings from a mummified bull Samples taken from a pyramid in Dashur, Egypt. This date agrees with the age of the pyramid as estimated from historical records. Charcoal Sample, recovered from bed of ash near Crater Lake, Oregon, is from a tree burned in the violent eruption of Mount Mazama which created Crater Lake.

This eruption blanketed several States with ash, providing geologists with an excellent time zone. Charcoal Sample collected from the “Marmes Man” site in southeastern Washington. This rock shelter is believed to be among the oldest known inhabited sites in North America. Spruce wood Sample from the Two Creeks forest bed near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, dates one of the last advances of the continental ice sheet into the United States.

Bishop Tuff Samples collected from volcanic ash and pumice that overlie glacial debris in Owens Valley, California. This volcanic episode provides an important reference datum in the glacial history of North America. Volcanic ash Samples collected from strata in Olduvai Gorge, East Africa, which sandwich the fossil remains of Zinjanthropus and Homo habilis — possible precursors of modern man. Monzonite Samples of copper-bearing rock from vast open-pit mine at Bingham Canyon.

Strontium: It Knows Where You’ve Been