Carbon dating meteorites

Methods of Dating the Age of Meteorites

carbon dating meteorites

Meteorites date the earth with a ± Ga Pb-Pb isochron .. their matrix is carbon-rich, containing various amounts of carbon in the form. Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth by Ralph W. Matthews, Ph.D. [Click Since the lead in meteorites can no longer be ascribed to uranium/thorium. Radiometric dating. Adapted from The Age of the The majority of the 70 well- dated meteorites have ages of billion years. These meteorites, which are .

Radiometric Dating Does Work! | NCSE

Other creationists have focused on instances in which radiometric dating seems to yield incorrect results. In most instances, these efforts are flawed because the authors have misunderstood or misrepresented the data they attempt to analyze for example, Woodmorappe ; Morris HM ; Morris JD Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result Austin ; Rugg and Austin that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature.

The creationist approach of focusing on examples where radiometric dating yields incorrect results is a curious one for two reasons. First, it provides no evidence whatsoever to support their claim that the earth is very young. If the earth were only —10 years old, then surely there should be some scientific evidence to confirm that hypothesis; yet the creationists have produced not a shred of it so far. Where are the data and age calculations that result in a consistent set of ages for all rocks on earth, as well as those from the moon and the meteorites, no greater than 10 years?

Glaringly absent, it seems. Second, it is an approach doomed to failure at the outset.

  • Radiometric Dating Does Work!
  • Age of the Earth

Creationists seem to think that a few examples of incorrect radiometric ages invalidate all of the results of radiometric dating, but such a conclusion is illogical.

Even things that work well do not work well all of the time and under all circumstances. Try, for example, wearing a watch that is not waterproof while swimming.

It will probably fail, but what would a reasonable person conclude from that? That watches do not work? A few verified examples of incorrect radiometric ages are simply insufficient to prove that radiometric dating is invalid. All they indicate is that the methods are not infallible. Those of us who have developed and used dating techniques to solve scientific problems are well aware that the systems are not perfect; we ourselves have provided numerous examples of instances in which the techniques fail.

We often test them under controlled conditions to learn when and why they fail so we will not use them incorrectly. We have even discredited entire techniques.

carbon dating meteorites

For example, after extensive testing over many years, it was concluded that uranium-helium dating is highly unreliable because the small helium atom diffuses easily out of minerals over geologic time. As a result, this method is not used except in rare and highly specialized applications. These methods provide valuable and valid age data in most instances, although there is a small percentage of cases in which even these generally reliable methods yield incorrect results.

carbon dating meteorites

Such failures may be due to laboratory errors mistakes happenunrecognized geologic factors nature sometimes fools usor misapplication of the techniques no one is perfect. Not only that, they have to show the flaws in those dating studies that provide independent corroborative evidence that radiometric methods work. This is a tall order and the creationists have made no progress so far. It is rare for a study involving radiometric dating to contain a single determination of age.

Usually determinations of age are repeated to avoid laboratory errors, are obtained on more than one rock unit or more than one mineral from a rock unit in order to provide a cross-check, or are evaluated using other geologic information that can be used to test and corroborate the radiometric ages.

Scientists who use radiometric dating typically use every means at their disposal to check, recheck, and verify their results, and the more important the results the more they are apt to be checked and rechecked by others. As a result, it is nearly impossible to be completely fooled by a good set of radiometric age data collected as part of a well-designed experiment. The purpose of this paper is to describe briefly a few typical radiometric dating studies, out of hundreds of possible examples documented in the scientific literature, in which the ages are validated by other available information.

I have selected four examples from recent literature, mostly studies involving my work and that of a few close colleagues because it was easy to do so. I could have selected many more examples but then this would have turned into a book rather than the intended short paper.

The heat of the impact melted some of the feldspar crystals in the granitic rocks of the impact zone, thereby resetting their internal radiometric clocks.

The impact also created shocked quartz crystals that were blasted into the air and subsequently fell to the west into the inland sea that occupied much of central North America at that time. Today this shocked quartz is found in South Dakota, Colorado, and Nebraska in a thin layer the Crow Creek Member within a thick rock formation known as the Pierre Shale. The Pierre Shale, which is divided into identifiable sedimentary beds called members, also contains abundant fossils of numerous species of ammonites, ancestors of the chambered nautilus.

The fossils, when combined with geologic mapping, allow the various exposed sections of the Pierre Shale to be pieced together in their proper relative positions to form a complete composite section Figure 1. The Pierre Shale also contains volcanic ash that was erupted from volcanoes and then fell into the sea, where it was preserved as thin beds. There are three important things to note about these results. First, each age is based on numerous measurements; laboratory errors, had there been any, would be readily apparent.

InJohn Perry produced an age-of-Earth estimate of 2 to 3 billion years using a model of a convective mantle and thin crust. The discovery of radioactivity introduced another factor in the calculation. After Henri Becquerel 's initial discovery inMarie and Pierre Curie discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium in ; and inPierre Curie and Albert Laborde announced that radium produces enough heat to melt its own weight in ice in less than an hour.

Geologists quickly realized that this upset the assumptions underlying most calculations of the age of Earth.

Radiometric Dating

These had assumed that the original heat of the Earth and Sun had dissipated steadily into space, but radioactive decay meant that this heat had been continually replenished. George Darwin and John Joly were the first to point this out, in Ernest Rutherford in Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy jointly had continued their work on radioactive materials and concluded that radioactivity was due to a spontaneous transmutation of atomic elements.

In radioactive decay, an element breaks down into another, lighter element, releasing alpha, beta, or gamma radiation in the process. They also determined that a particular isotope of a radioactive element decays into another element at a distinctive rate. This rate is given in terms of a " half-life ", or the amount of time it takes half of a mass of that radioactive material to break down into its "decay product".

Some radioactive materials have short half-lives; some have long half-lives. Uranium and thorium have long half-lives, and so persist in Earth's crust, but radioactive elements with short half-lives have generally disappeared. This suggested that it might be possible to measure the age of Earth by determining the relative proportions of radioactive materials in geological samples. In reality, radioactive elements do not always decay into nonradioactive "stable" elements directly, instead, decaying into other radioactive elements that have their own half-lives and so on, until they reach a stable element.

How Scientists Found The Oldest Rock On Earth

These " decay chains ", such as the uranium-radium and thorium series, were known within a few years of the discovery of radioactivity and provided a basis for constructing techniques of radiometric dating. The pioneers of radioactivity were chemist Bertram B.

Boltwood and the energetic Rutherford. Boltwood had conducted studies of radioactive materials as a consultant, and when Rutherford lectured at Yale in[28] Boltwood was inspired to describe the relationships between elements in various decay series.

Late inRutherford took the first step toward radiometric dating by suggesting that the alpha particles released by radioactive decay could be trapped in a rocky material as helium atoms.

At the time, Rutherford was only guessing at the relationship between alpha particles and helium atoms, but he would prove the connection four years later. Soddy and Sir William Ramsay had just determined the rate at which radium produces alpha particles, and Rutherford proposed that he could determine the age of a rock sample by measuring its concentration of helium. He dated a rock in his possession to an age of 40 million years by this technique.

Rutherford wrote, I came into the room, which was half dark, and presently spotted Lord Kelvin in the audience and realized that I was in trouble at the last part of my speech dealing with the age of the Earth, where my views conflicted with his. To my relief, Kelvin fell fast asleep, but as I came to the important point, I saw the old bird sit up, open an eye, and cock a baleful glance at me!

Then a sudden inspiration came, and I said, "Lord Kelvin had limited the age of the Earth, provided no new source was discovered. That prophetic utterance refers to what we are now considering tonight, radium! Rutherford's scheme was inaccurate, but it was a useful first step. Boltwood focused on the end products of decay series. Inhe suggested that lead was the final stable product of the decay of radium. It was already known that radium was an intermediate product of the decay of uranium.

Based on our study of meteorites and rocks from the Moon, as well as modeling the formation of planets, it is believed pretty much well-established that all of the objects in the Solar System formed very quickly about 4.

carbon dating meteorites

When we age date a planet, we are actually just dating the age of the surface, not the whole planet. We can get absolute ages only if we have rocks from that surface.

FAQ - Radioactive Age-Dating

For others, all we are doing is getting a relative age, using things like the formation of craters and other features on a surface. 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. Earth and what could happen to Earth in an extreme case, etc. How do you technically define half-life? From Wikipedia, radioactive decay is the process in which an unstable atomic nucleus spontaneously loses energy by emitting ionizing particles and radiation. This decay, or loss of energy, results in an atom element of one type, called the parent nuclide transforming to an atom of a different type another element or another isotope of the same elementnamed the daughter nuclide.

It is impossible to predict when a given atom will decay, but given a large number of similar atoms, the decay rate on average is predictable. This predictable decay is called the half-life of the parent atom, the time it takes for one half of all of the parent atoms to transform into the daughter. If carbon is so short-lived in comparison to potassium or uranium, why is it that in terms of the media, we mostly about carbon and rarely the others?