## Isochron dating

**Table of contents:**show

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Radiometric rock dating, the methodology of determining the date of formation of a rock sample by the well-established rate of decay of the isotopes contained, depends on accurately determination of the starting points, the original concentrations of the isotopes. Many methods of estimating these beginning concentrations have been proposed, but all rest on tenuous assumptions which have limited their acceptance. This paper attempts to show that the Isochron-Diagram method contains a logical flaw that invalidates it. This most accepted of all methods has two variations, the mineral isochron and the whole-rock isochron. The logically-sound authenticating mechanism of the mineral isochron is applied to the whole-rock isochron, where it is invalid. The long-term stability of the whole-rock is applied to the mineral, where it is inappropriate. When the isochron data are the result of the rock being a blend of two original species, the diagram is called a mixing line, having no time significance. This paper shows that all whole-rock isochrons are necessarily mixing lines. It is noted that by analogy the mixing-line logic casts strong suspicion on the mineral isochron as well. Since only whole-rock isochrons play a significant role in the dating game anyway, isotopic geochronology can be rather generally discredited.

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These claims generally land in three different categories: 1 radiometric dating assumes that initial conditions concentrations of mother and daughter nuclei are known, 2 radiometric dating assumes that rocks are closed systems and 3 radiometric dating assumes that decay rates are constant. Most young earth creationists reject all of these points. As a scientific skeptics, we ask ourselves: is this really the case?

Dating – Dating – The isochron method: Many radioactive dating methods are possible to show that uncertainties related to this assumption are negligible.

Potassium, an alkali metal, the Earth’s eighth most abundant element is common in many rocks and rock-forming minerals. The quantity of potassium in a rock or mineral is variable proportional to the amount of silica present. Therefore, mafic rocks and minerals often contain less potassium than an equal amount of silicic rock or mineral. Potassium can be mobilized into or out of a rock or mineral through alteration processes. Due to the relatively heavy atomic weight of potassium, insignificant fractionation of the different potassium isotopes occurs.

However, the 40 K isotope is radioactive and therefore will be reduced in quantity over time. But, for the purposes of the KAr dating system, the relative abundance of 40 K is so small and its half-life is so long that its ratios with the other Potassium isotopes are considered constant. Argon, a noble gas, constitutes approximately 0. Because it is present within the atmosphere, every rock and mineral will have some quantity of Argon. Argon can mobilized into or out of a rock or mineral through alteration and thermal processes.

Like Potassium, Argon cannot be significantly fractionated in nature. However, 40 Ar is the decay product of 40 K and therefore will increase in quantity over time.

## Rubidium-Strontium Isochrons

The technique uses a few key assumptions that are not always true. These assumptions are:. Assumption 2 can cause problems when analysing certain minerals, especially a mineral called sanidine. This is a kind of K-rich feldspar that forms at high temperatures and has a very disordered crystal lattice. This disordered crystal lattice makes it more difficult for Ar to diffuse out of the sample during analysis, and the high melting temperature makes it difficult to completely melt the sample to release the all of the gas.

This age is computed under the assumption that the parent substance (say, Radiometric dating is largely done on rock that has formed from solidified lava. What has to happen next to get an isochron is that the uranium or thorium has to.

The simplest form of isotopic age computation involves substituting three measurements into an equation of four variables, and solving for the fourth. The equation is the one which describes radioactive decay:. Solving the equation for “age,” and incorporating the computation of the original quantity of parent isotope, we get:. Some assumptions have been made in the discussion of generic dating, for the sake of keeping the computation simple.

Such assumptions will not always be accurate in the real world. These include:. If one of these assumptions has been violated, the simple computation above yields an incorrect age. Note that the mere existence of these assumptions do not render the simpler dating methods entirely useless. In many cases, there are independent cues such as geologic setting or the chemistry of the specimen which can suggest that such assumptions are entirely reasonable.

However, the methods must be used with care — and one should be cautious about investing much confidence in the resulting age Isochron methods avoid the problems which can potentially result from both of the above assumptions. Isochron dating requires a fourth measurement to be taken, which is the amount of a different isotope of the same element as the daughter product of radioactive decay.

## Isochron Dating

Radiometric Dating Methods. Table of Contents. Peru’s Fossil Whales. Cosmogenic Isotope Dating.

Given these assumptions and the above discussion on isochron dating, some interesting problems arise as one considers.

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## Refuting “Radiometric Dating Methods Makes Untenable Assumptions!”

With an accout for my. Isochron dating is a common technique of radiometric dating and is applied to date certain events, such as crystallization , metamorphism, shock events, and differentiation of precursor melts, in the history of rocks. Isochron dating can be further separated into mineral isochron dating and whole rock isochron dating ; both techniques are applied frequently to date terrestrial and also extraterrestrial rocks meteorites. The advantage of isochron dating as compared to simple radiometric dating techniques is that no assumptions about the initial amount of the daughter nuclide in the radioactive decay sequence are needed.

Isochron dating began when scientists recognized difficulties with the assumptions of radiometric dating, especially how much of the daughter.

We dealt with the issues around radiocarbon dating here. That leaves a bunch more to cover. We can do that, because these are not assumptions. These are known issues with radiometric dating and have been dealt with ages ago. The first radiometric dating of rocks was done in Also in the 30s, geologists finally accepted the use of physics in their field and begun to accept that the age of the Earth was actually a measurable concept.

What about those issues above?

## The Age of the Earth

Isochron dating is a common technique of radiometric dating and is applied to date certain events, such as crystallization , metamorphism , shock events, and differentiation of precursor melts, in the history of rocks. Isochron dating can be further separated into mineral isochron dating and whole rock isochron dating ; both techniques are applied frequently to date terrestrial and also extraterrestrial rocks meteorites.

The advantage of isochron dating as compared to simple radiometric dating techniques is that no assumptions are needed about the initial amount of the daughter nuclide in the radioactive decay sequence.

Thus the goal of garnet geochronology is not merely to date garnet growth; rather, it is to geologic scatter and adherence to the isochron assumptions. (though.

Radioactive decay has become one of the most useful methods for determining the age of formation of rocks. However, in the very principal of radiometric dating there are several vital assumptions that have to be made in order for the age to be considered valid. These assumptions include: 1 the initial amount of the daughter isotope is known, 2 neither parent or daughter product has migrated into, or out of, the closed rock system, and 3 decay has occurred at a constant rate over time.

But what if one or some combination of these assumptions is incorrect? Then the computed age based on the accumulation of daughter products will be incorrect Stasson In order to use the valuable information provided by radiometric dating, a new method had to be created that would determine an accurate date and validate the assumptions of radiometric dating. For this purpose, isochron dating was developed, a process “that solves both of these problems accurate date, assumptions at once” Stasson A natural clock must meet four requirements.

Isotope dating satisfies this requirement, as daughter products do not decay back to the original parent element. It has been established through extensive experimentation that radioactive decay occurs at a constant rate. In this case, the initial condition is the amount of daughter isotope in the rock when it was formed. This amount is often unknown and is one of the downfalls of conventional radiometric dating.

## Clocks in the Rocks

H ow old is planet Earth? There are enormous differences of opinion. The most common view is that Earth is approximately 4.

and even with all its dubious assumptions the method is significant amounts, and dating is done with the isochron method, which completely.

You may have heard that the Earth is 4. This was calculated by taking precise measurements of things in the dirt and in meteorites and using the principles of radioactive decay to determine an age. This page will show you how that was done. Radioactive nuclides decay with a half-life. If the half-life of a material is years and you have 1 kg of it, years from now you will only have 0. The rest will have decayed into a different nuclide called a daughter nuclide.

Several radioactive nuclides exist in nature with half-lives long enough to be useful for geologic dating. This nuclide decays to Strontium Sr87 with a half-life of