Carbon radioisotope dating

So, researchers “normalize” the data by making a ratio with strontium-86, which is stable – meaning it doesn’t decay over time.Dividing the isotope concentrations of all the forms of strontium and rubidium by the isotope concentration of strontium-86 generates something called the “isochron.” The isochron is then plugged into a model, which uses it to turn the overall radioisotope data into a clear, linear function.

carbon radioisotope dating-63

Then, by assessing the isotope concentrations of rubidium and strontium, scientists can back-calculate to determine when the rock was formed.

The three isotopes mentioned can be used for dating rock formations and meteorites; the method typically works best on igneous rocks. The data from radioisotope analysis tends to be somewhat scattered.

Researchers will need to evaluate samples individually, then apply the relevant physics accordingly.

“It’s a pain in the neck, but it will make our estimates significantly more accurate,” Hayes says.

“If we don’t account for differential mass diffusion, we really have no idea how accurate a radioisotope date actually is.

It’s worth noting that the issues raised here do not apply to carbon dating, which does not utilize isotopic ratios.” The paper, “Some mathematical and geophysical considerations in radioisotope dating applications,” is published in the journal .

Although without the ratios, the data are inherently noisy.

In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.

The work was supported by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under grant NRC-HQ-84-14-G-0059 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory through agreement number ORNL-675.

-shipman- Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

In a separate article (Radiometric dating), we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques.

Tags: , ,