Dating rocks using radioactive isotopes
Dating rocks using radioactive isotopes - consolidating home and auto loans
This may simply have to do with what the media is talking about.When there is a scientific discussion about the age of, say a meteorite or the Earth, the media just talks about the large numbers and not about the dating technique (e.g. On the other hand, when the media talk about "more recent events," ages that are more comprehendible, such as when early Man built a fire or even how old a painting is (or some ancient parchment), then we bring up the dating technique in order to better validate the findings.
For example: a carbon-14 atom (the "parent") emits radiation and transforms to a nitrogen-14 atom (the "daughter").So, Carbon-14 can only measure things up to just over 50,000 years old, great for determining when someone built a wood fire, but not good for determining the age of a meteorite. It occurs whenever an atom has an unbalanced number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus.The number of protons usually determines the element the atom belongs to and it is fixed for any particular element.These are the surfaces that we can get absolute ages for.For the others, one can only use relative age dating (such as counting craters) in order to estimate the age of the surface and the history of the surface.Once the half life of an isotope and its decay path are known, it is possible to use the radioactive decay for dating the substance (rock) it belongs to, by measuring the amount of parent and daughter contained in the sample.
An important point is that we must have an idea of how much of the daughter isotope was in the sample before the decay started.
By studying other planets, we are learning more about our own planet.
The effects of impacts and how they might affect us here on Earth, global climate change (Venus vs.
When the number of neutrons is not in balance with the protons then the atom of that particular element is said to be unstable.
In nature, all elements have atoms with varying numbers of neutrons in their nucleus.
The biggest assumption is that, to first order, the number of asteroids and comets hitting the Earth and the Moon was the same as for Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The bottom line is that the more craters one sees, the older the surface is.