Radiodating earth

Radiodating earth

(This is consistent with the geologic ‘age’ assigned to the granites in which these zircons are found.) There is a significant amount of helium from that ‘1.5 billion years of decay’ still inside the zircons.This is at first glance surprising for long-agers, because of the ease with which one would expect helium (with its tiny, light, unreactive atoms) to escape from the spaces within the crystal structure.But this sediment doesn't typically include the necessary isotopes in measurable amounts.Fossils can't form in the igneous rock that usually does contain the isotopes.Other techniques include analyzing amino acids and measuring changes in an object's magnetic field.Scientists have also made improvements to the standard radiometric measurements.While the oldest known rocks on Earth are about 3.5 billion years old, researchers have found zircon crystals that are 4.3 billion years old [source: USGS].Based on the analysis of these samples, scientists estimate that the Earth itself is about 4.5 billion years old.

By measuring the amount of uranium and ‘radiogenic lead’ in these crystals, one can calculate that, if the decay rate has been constant, about 1.5 billion years must have passed.Using the basic ideas of bracketing and radiometric dating, researchers have determined the age of rock layers all over the world.This information has also helped determine the age of the Earth itself.In this particular case, it takes 4,460,000,000 years for half of a sample of U238 to decay into Pb206.It takes another 4,460,000,000 years for half of the remaining sample to decay into Pb206 and then another 4,460,000,000 years for half of what’s then left to decay, and so on.

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In addition, the oldest known moon rocks are 4.5 billion years old.

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