High School Earth Science/Absolute Ages of Rocks

The abyss of time. Geochronology by radioactive decay. The geologic age of the Mississippi River. Non-Poisson distributions observed during counting of certain carbon labeled organic sub monolayers. Is radioactive decay random? Bible-Science Newsletter 19 4: Observational paradoxes in extragalactic astronomy.

How Old is the Earth

These are K-Ar data obtained on glauconite, a potassium-bearing clay mineral that forms in some marine sediment. Woodmorappe fails to mention, however, that these data were obtained as part of a controlled experiment to test, on samples of known age, the applicability of the K-Ar method to glauconite and to illite, another clay mineral. He also neglects to mention that most of the 89 K-Ar ages reported in their study agree very well with the expected ages. Evernden and others 43 found that these clay minerals are extremely susceptible to argon loss when heated even slightly, such as occurs when sedimentary rocks are deeply buried.

As a result, glauconite is used for dating only with extreme caution. The ages from the Coast Range batholith in Alaska Table 2 are referenced by Woodmorappe to a report by Lanphere and others

The potassium content of the Dead Sea is estimated at approximately percent potassium chloride, and many other salty bodies of water are rich in potassium. The waste liquors from certain saltworks may contain up to 40 grams per litre of potassium chloride and are used as a source of potassium.

Paleomagnetic dating Edit A sequence of paleomagnetic poles usually called virtual geomagnetic poles , which are already well defined in age, constitutes an apparent polar wander path APWP. Such path is constructed for a large continental block. APWPs for different continents can be used as a reference for newly obtained poles for the rocks with unknown age. For paleomagnetic dating it is suggested to use the APWP in order to date a pole obtained from rocks or sediments of unknown age by linking the paleopole to the nearest point on the APWP.

Two methods of paleomagnetic dating have been suggested 1 Angular method and 2 Rotation method. Second method is used for the folded areas where tectonic rotations are possible. The polarity timescale has been previously determined by dating of seafloor magnetic anomalies, radiometrically dating volcanic rocks within magnetostratigraphic sections, and astronomically dating magnetostratigraphic sections. Chemostratigraphy Edit Global trends in isotope compositions, particularly Carbon 13 and strontium isotopes, can be used to correlate strata.

The thick and light-to-dark coloured layer at the height of the volcanologists hands is a marker horizon of rhyolitic -to- basaltic tephra from Hekla. Marker horizons are stratigraphic units of the same age and of such distinctive composition and appearance, that despite their presence in different geographic sites, there is certainty about their age-equivalence. Fossil faunal and floral assemblages , both marine and terrestrial, make for distinctive marker horizons.

Tephra is also often used as a dating tool in archaeology, since the dates of some eruptions are well-established. Differences from chronostratigraphy Edit It is important not to confuse geochronologic and chronostratigraphic units.

Potassium-40 is useful for dating very old fossils because..?

Important We believe any unbiased reader will realize that we were fair with our treatment of the two models in the table above. Yet, although the theory of evolution matches the facts in some cases, evolution is still an unproven theory. By now, you may believe it should be your first choice also. Unlike many others that preceded us, we attempted to find a clear defense of evolution for two reasons:

(4) Geological dating of igneous rocks Certain elements with very long half-lives can be used to date the geological age of igneous rocks and even the age of the Earth. has a half-life of x 10 9 years. It decays to form.; If the argon gas is trapped in the rock, the ratio of potassium to argon decreases over time and the ratio can be used to date the age of rock formation i.e. from.

The Radiometric Dating Game Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years. We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous.

This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points. Since there doesn’t seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate.

However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old. If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question.

After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.


Products List What are some uses of igneous rocks in the construction industry Igneous rocks may be used to manufacture tiles, countertops and as building ornamentation or in the construction of monuments or memorials, such as the Igneous Rocks early geologists often associated igneous rocks with fiery lava flows. Lava is magma that flows out onto Earth’s surface. If you live near an active volcano, you can literally watch igneous rocks

How radiometric dating works in general: Radioactive elements decay gradually into other elements. The original element is called the parent, and the result of the decay process is .

Absolute Time Radioactive decay is the process whereby an unstable parent atomic nucleus is spontaneously transformed into an atomic nucleus of another element. This reduces the atomic number of the parent by 2 and the mass number of the parent by 4. Beta decay – an electron is emitted from a neutron in the nucleus changing the neutron to a proton. This increases the atomic number of the parent element by 1 but does not change the atomic mass number. Electron capture – occurs when a proton captures an electron and changes into a neutron.

The atomic number of the parent element is decreased by 1 but the mass number is unchanged. Heat is also emitted when a parent nucleus undergoes one of these types of decay. Lord Kelvin underestimated the age of the Earth because he was not aware of this internal heat source. There are several radioactive decay schemes which have been useful in determining the absolute age of geologic events. Each decay scheme can be characterized by the half-life – the length of time it takes for half of the parent atoms to decay to daughter atoms.

For example, if the half life of the decay scheme A goes to B is , years the changes in amounts of A and B as a function of time are given below, assuming that we start with 1, , atoms of A: Note that the relationship is not linear.

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A rock is an aggregate of one or more minerals; or a body of undifferentiated mineral matter. A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly internal structure and characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and physical properties. Some rocks are crystals. A crystal is piece of a homogeneous solid substance having a naturally geometrically regular form with symmetrically arranged plane faces.

Diamonds, rubies and other gems are rocks.

Free printable Geology word search puzzles complete with corresponding answer sheet with a title and bordered grid.

Key concepts Absolute Dating The problem: By the mid 19th century it was obvious that Earth was much older than years, but how old? This problem attracted the attention of capable scholars but ultimately depended on serendipitous discoveries. Initially, three lines of evidence were pursued: Hutton attempted to estimate age based on the application of observed rates of sedimentation to the known thickness of the sedimentary rock column, achieving an approximation of 36 million years. This invoked three assumptions: Constant rates of sedimentation over time Thickness of newly deposited sediments similar to that of resulting sedimentary rocks There are no gaps or missing intervals in the rock record.

In fact, each of these is a source of concern. The big problem is with the last assumption. The rock record preserves erosional surfaces that record intervals in which not only is deposition of sediment not occurring, but sediment that was already there who knows how much was removed. Strata which were deposited on top of one another without interruption. An erosional surface that marks an interval of non-deposition or removal of deposits – a break in the stratigraphic sequence.

Group of conformable layers lying between unconformities.

Potassium-argon dating

Departures from this assumption are quite common, particularly in areas of complex geological history, but such departures can provide useful information that is of value in elucidating thermal histories. A deficiency of 40 Ar in a sample of a known age can indicate a full or partial melt in the thermal history of the area. Reliability in the dating of a geological feature is increased by sampling disparate areas which have been subjected to slightly different thermal histories.

Ar—Ar dating is a similar technique which compares isotopic ratios from the same portion of the sample to avoid this problem.

Information about specific rocks and minerals. Obsidian Obsidian is volcanic glass. Oligoclase Oligoclase has the formulae (Na,Ca)AlSi3O8 and a relative hardness of 7. It is a plagioclase interest to petrologists and collectors.

Updated 8 January c Introduction In a related article on geologic ages Ages , we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages. In a separate article Radiometric dating , we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques. As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.

Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades. 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 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. Here is one example of an isochron, based on measurements of basaltic meteorites in this case the resulting date is 4. Reliability of radiometric dating So, are radiometric methods foolproof? Just how reliable are these dates? As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain “glitches” and “anomalies,” as noted in the literature.

Skeptics of old-earth geology make great hay of these examples.

Potassium-argon (K-Ar) dating

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