Teaching radiometric dating

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In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.Look for “absolute” ages such as cornerstones, dates carved into fresh concrete, or dates stamped on manhole covers.Absolute age dating: Have students work alone or in pairs to find an article or paper that uses radiometric age dating.What’s more, if the whole rock is badly weathered, it will be hard to find an intact mineral grain containing radioactive isotopes.You might have noticed that many of the oldest age dates come from a mineral called zircon.

Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.Chart of a few different isotope half lifes: In reality, geologists tend to mix and match relative and absolute age dates to piece together a geologic history.If a rock has been partially melted, or otherwise metamorphosed, that causes complications for radiometric (absolute) age dating as well.For example, which is older, the bricks in a building or the building itself?Are there repairs or cracks in the sidewalk that came after the sidewalk was built?

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