Radiometric dating and astronomical dating


29-Dec-2017 13:53

And we go into more depth and kind of prove it in other Khan Academy videos.But we know that the amount as a function of time-- so if we say N is the amount of a radioactive sample we have at some time-- we know that's equal to the initial amount we have.Radioactive rocks offer a similar “clock.” Radioactive atoms, such as uranium (the parent isotopes), decay into stable atoms, such as lead (the daughter isotopes), at a measurable rate.To date a radioactive rock, geologists first measure the “sand grains” in the top glass bowl (the parent radioisotope, such as uranium-238 or potassium-40).Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old.Yet this view is based on a misunderstanding of how radiometric dating works.The formula for the fraction remaining is one-half raised to the power given by the number of years divided by the half-life (in other words raised to a power equal to the number of half-lives).If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.

radiometric dating and astronomical dating-28

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radiometric dating and astronomical dating-17

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Radioactive elements "decay" (that is, change into other elements) by "half lives." If a half life is equal to one year, then one half of the radioactive element will have decayed in the first year after the mineral was formed; one half of the remainder will decay in the next year (leaving one-fourth remaining), and so forth.We'll call that N sub 0, times e to the negative kt-- where this constant is particular to that thing's half-life.



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