Start Radiocarbon dating is appropriate for measuring the age

Radiocarbon dating is appropriate for measuring the age

Answer 2: Yes, radiometric dating is a very accurate way to date the Earth.

For an example of how geologists use radiometric dating, read on: A geologist can pick up a rock from a mountainside somewhere, and bring it back to the lab, and separate out the individual minerals that compose the rock.

They can then look at a single mineral, and using an instrument called a mass spectrometer, they can measure the amount of parent and the amount of daughter in that mineral.

We have also obtained a very similar age by measuring Pb isotopes in materials from earth.

I should mention that the decay constants (basically a value that indicates how fast a certain radioactive isotope will decay) for some of these isotope systems were calculated by assuming that the age of the earth is 4.56 billion years, meaning that we will also calculate an age of 4.56 billion years if we use that decay constant.

We have dated meteorites using Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Pb-Pb, Re-Os, and Lu-Hf isotope systems and have obtained very similar ages.

The fact that the age we calculate is reproducible for these different systems is significant.

There are many radiometric clocks and when applied to appropriate materials, the dating can be very accurate.

As one example, the first minerals to crystallize (condense) from the hot cloud of gasses that surrounded the Sun as it first became a star have been dated to 4568 plus or minus 2 million years....!! Other events on earth can be dated equally well given the right minerals.

For example, a problem I have worked on involving the eruption of a volcano at what is now Naples, Italy, occurred 38500 years ago with a plus or minus of 300 years.

So, when the materials are appropriate and one carefully avoids contamination and re setting radiometric clocks can be VERY ACCURATE.

This is why crystals are good for radiometric dating: the atoms in a crystal are extremely efficiently packed, and it's very difficult to get anything into a crystal such as a contaminant by any means short of destroying the crystal and re-growing it anew.