Radiometric dating example problems

Following the discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel (1896), the possibility of using this phenomenon as a means for determining the age of uranium-bearing minerals was demonstrated by Rutherford (1906).One year later Boltwood (1907) developed the chemical U-Pb method. By combining Von Weizsackers argon abundance arguments with Kohlhorsters observation that potassium emitted gamma-radiation, Bramley (1937) presented strong evidence that potassium underwent dual decay.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 in the number of neutrons in the nucleus.Interweaving the relative time scale with the atomic time scale poses certain problems because only certain types of rocks, chiefly the igneous variety, can be dated directly by radiometric methods; but these rocks do not ordinarily contain fossils.Most sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, limestone, and shale (which do contain fossils) are related to the radiometric time scale by bracketing them within time zones that are determined by dating appropriately selected igneous rocks in lava flows, or weathered from lava flows.

By definition, D* = N-1) (2) Now we can calculate the age if we know the number of daughter atoms produced by decay, D* and the number of parent atoms now present, N.

Isotopic Fractionation is a physical separation of isotopes and a non-radioactive source of isotope ratios.

It can be caused by heating and cooling, water flow, contact between high and low concentration magma and just normal molecular motion.

Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed.

The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.

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