Radiometric dating methods geology

Biostratigraphy does not directly provide an absolute age determination of a rock, but merely places it within an interval of time at which that fossil assemblage is known to have coexisted.Both disciplines work together hand in hand however, to the point where they share the same system of naming rock layers and the time spans utilized to classify layers within a stratum.Geochronology is the science of determining the age of rocks, fossils, and sediments using signatures inherent in the rocks themselves.Absolute geochronology can be accomplished through radioactive isotopes, whereas relative geochronology is provided by tools such as palaeomagnetism and stable isotope ratios.A number of radioactive isotopes are used for this purpose, and depending on the rate of decay, are used for dating different geological periods.More slowly decaying isotopes are useful for longer periods of time, but less accurate in absolute years.

For example, creationist writer Henry Morris [Morris2000, pg.

When we look at sand in an hourglass, we can estimate how much time has passed based on the amount of sand that has fallen to the bottom.

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.

These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.

As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.

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