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. I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions.
We have essentially three different U—Pb dating tools at hand, a high-precision, whole-grain bulk technique isotope-dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry, ID-TIMS , and two high-spatial resolution but less precise in-situ techniques secondary ion mass spectrometry, SIMS, and laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry, LA-ICP-MS , all of which are predominantly applied to the mineral zircon.
All three have reached a technological and methodological maturity in data quality and quantity, but interpretational differences, which are often common albeit at different temporal and spatial scales to all isotopic dating techniques, remain largely unresolved. The choice to use one of these techniques should be governed by the scientific question posed, such as 1 the duration of the geological process to be resolved; 2 the size and abundance of the material to be analyzed; 3 the complexity of the sample material and of the geological history to be resolved; and 4 the number of dates needed to address the question.
Our compilation demonstrates that, ultimately, the highest confidence geochronological data will not only result from the optimal choice of appropriate analysis technique and the accurate treatment of analytical and interpretational complexities, but also require comprehensive sample characterization that employs the full gamut of textural e.
Hide All Basham, I. Rend Soc Ital Mineral Petrol 43, — Cheralite, a new mineral of the monazite group. Mineral Mag 30, 93— Age dating of individual grains of uraninite in rocks from electron microprobe analyses. Chem Geol 83, 47— The Geological Society, pp. A re-examination of cheralite. Mineral Mag 43, — Monazite dating of granitic gneisses and leucogranites from the Kerala Khondalite Belt, southern India: Implications for Late Proterozoic crustal evolution in East Gondwana.
Int J Earth Sci 93, 13— An experimental study of hydroxyl groups and water in synthetic and natural zircons: Amer Mineral 70, —
Geology and U-Th-Pb Dating of the Gakara REE Deposit, Burundi
See this page in: Hungarian , Russian , Spanish People who ask about carbon 14C dating usually want to know about the radiometric  dating methods that are claimed to give millions and billions of years—carbon dating can only give thousands of years. People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history.
APPENDIX: ANALYTICAL METHODS SHRIMP UPb dating Samples for SHRIMP dating were selected from a representative suite of protoliths of meta-igneous rocks. Sample locations are shown in Figure 2. Zircon The U-Th-Pb analyses were made using the SHRIMP-RG housed in Green.
We present results obtained with a confocal 3D micro-XRF set-up for chemical age dating using the U, Th and Pb concentrations of monazite within rock thin sections. The relative detection limits particularly for Pb are below 10 ppm for counting times of s. Therefore, this 3D micro-XRF set-up is suitable for dating of minerals with low Pb concentrations as long as all Pb is radiogenic, allowing spatial resolution comparable to ion microprobe or laser ablation techniques.
The set-up was tested on monazites that are well characterized by isotopic techniques and have a wide range of ages, varying from 20 Ma to 1. Reference materials GM3, F6, can be reproduced within error. The method was then applied to monazites of unknown age from sapphirine-bearing granulites originating from the Gruf Complex Alps, N-Italy.
This age can be reliably interpreted as the age of the high-temperature HT event because the monazites are included in and intergrown with HT minerals sapphirine, high-Al orthopyroxene. GeoRef Subject You do not currently have access to this article. You could not be signed in.
The isotopes[ edit ] There are a number of isotopes of interest in U-Pb dating. It has a half-life of 4. It is also useful to know of the existence of Pb lead , which is neither unstable nor radiogenic. Isochron dating and U-Pb[ edit ] We can always try U-Pb dating using the isochron method , but this often doesn’t work:
Geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling worked on “dating the Koongarra uranium deposits in the Northern Territory of Australia, primarily using the uranium-thorium-lead (U-Th-Pb) method. He found that even highly weathered soil samples from the area, which are definitely not closed systems, gave apparently valid “isochron” lines with “ages” of.
Show full item record Abstract While the understanding of the structural, temporal, and thermal evolution of rifted continental margins has significantly evolved over the past several decades, critical outstanding questions remain, especially concerning the thermal evolution as well as the spatial and temporal intricacies of tectonically controlled sedimentation and sedimentary provenance during progressive rifting and hyper-extension.
This non-magmatic, asymmetric, hyper-extended rift basin formed during Early Cretaceous hyper-extension of Iberian lithosphere, as a result of lateral propagation of rifting in the Bay of Biscay, and experienced a limited magnitude of shortening during post-rift Pyrenean inversion. In contrast, the distal rift margin is composed of exhumed mid-lower crustal granulites, which have a similar Pan-African signature but with additional Variscan Permian overgrowths. Detrital zircon U-Pb analyses of syn- to post-rift strata indicate compartmentalized, local sourcing from the pre-rift strata in the proximal margin and the exhumed lower crust in the distal margin.
Late syn- to post-rift strata show a shift to non-compartmentalized, regional sourcing from the proximal rift margin and hinterland. These observations are combined to present a sediment dispersal model for the progression of rifting. ZHe analyses shows preservation of two distinct age domains: These observations of heating and high geothermal gradients are compared to geologic and numerical rifting models to give insight into preferred models for the rifting evolution of hyper-extended margins.
How accurate are Carbon-14 and other radioactive dating methods?
Bulk properties[ edit ] Thorium is a moderately soft , paramagnetic , bright silvery radioactive actinide metal. In the periodic table , it lies to the right of actinium , to the left of protactinium , and below cerium. Pure thorium is very ductile and, as normal for metals, can be cold-rolled , swaged , and drawn. Aluminium ‘s is In the beginning of period 7 , from francium to thorium, the melting points of the elements increase as in other periods , because the number of delocalised electrons each atom contributes increases from one in francium to four in thorium, leading to greater attraction between these electrons and the metal ions as their charge increases from one to four.
After thorium, there is a new downward trend in melting points from thorium to plutonium , where the number of f electrons increases from about 0.
Most minerals that are used for U-Pb, Th-Pb, and Pb-Pb radiometric dating, such as zircon, titanite, and monazite, are more difficult to dissolve. Apatite, however, contains a substantial quantity of U and Th, usually contains only small quantities of initial Pb, and easily.
Oscillatory zoned zircons revealed concordant Mississippian magmatic ages: The results document nearly synchronous, successive Meso-Hercynian plutonic events from S-type to I-type granites. Kalium-argon age determinations of the West-Carpathian crystalline complexes and preliminary interpretation of the results. Granitoid rocks determined by Rb-Sr isochrone method. Veda, Bratislava, in Slovak with English summary. Isotopic geochronology of the Western Carpathian crystalline complex with catalogue data.
Variscan granitoids of Central Europe: Electron-microprobe dating of monazites from Western Carpathian basement granitoids: Contribution to age knowledge of some granites and related mineral deposits of the Western Carpathians.
(U-Th)/(He-Pb) double dating of detrital zircons
As evident by the equation, initial Pb isotope ratios, as well as the age of the system are the two factors which determine the present day Pb isotope compositions. This was first established by Nier et al. The Pb ratios of three stony and two iron meteorites were measured. By dating meteorites Patterson was directly dating the age of various planetesimals.
As planetesimals collided, various fragments were scattered and produced meteorites.
However, low U, Th and radiogenic Pb concentrations, elevated common Pb and the lack of a U-Th-Pb apatite standard remain significant challenges in dating apatite by LA-ICPMS, and consequently in developing the chronometer as a provenance tool.
A single watch or clock for the entire class will do. Return to top PART 1: After students have decided how to establish the relative age of each rock unit, they should list them under the block, from most recent at the top of the list to oldest at the bottom. The teacher should tell the students that there are two basic principles used by geologists to determine the sequence of ages of rocks.
Younger sedimentary rocks are deposited on top of older sedimentary rocks. Principle of cross-cutting relations: Any geologic feature is younger than anything else that it cuts across.