Radiometric dating questions


02-Jan-2019 13:37

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here.

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The main thing is that it's consistent with other forms of dating.

But like any other bit of experimental physics "the difference between practice and theory is small in theory but large in practice." It's especially tricky for Carbon14 dating (which most recent stuff relies on).

The creation rate of C14 (and so the proportion in the atmosphere) depends on the suns activity - so a lot of dates which assumed a constant rate are known to be wrong.

We can now calibrate this out by looking at C14 in tree rings of a known age - but the charge of "C14 dates are wrong" is used by nutters (sorry creationists) either deliberately or in ignorance.

We also assume that the sample died with the same ratio of C12/C14 as in the atmosphere, this may not be true if they got the carbon in their diet from geological sources, eg by eating a lot of deep sea fish.

As we learned in the previous lesson, index fossils and superposition are effective methods of determining the relative age of objects.In other words, you can use superposition to tell you that one rock layer is older than another.But determining the absolute age of a substance (its age in years) is a much greater challenge.To accomplish this, scientists use a variety of evidence, from tree rings to the amounts of radioactive materials in a rock.