Half life dating problems

There are many different radioactive isotopes that are used for radiometric dating.For example, there is a radioactive form of potassium (potassium-40) that decays into argon (argon-40).

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These geologic events can cause elements to be gained and lost to the rock.

It’s like cracking the hourglass and having some of the sand leak out, or other sand leak in.

Radioactive dating is often illustrated with an hour glass.

The sand grains at the top of the sealed glass are like the atoms of the parent isotope in the rock, and those at the bottom like the atoms of the daughter.

There is a radioactive form of thorium that also decays into lead.

There is an isotope of samarium that decays into neodymium, and one of rubidium that decays into strontium.Apart from the fatal problem of not knowing the initial conditions, there is another problem that is just as deadly.We don’t know what happened to the rock during its ‘lifetime’.In other words, the hourglass only works when we know its initial condition.Unlike the hourglass, we do not know how much of each isotope was in the rock in the beginning.Radioactive decay is where the parent atoms change as a result of radioactive decay into daughter atoms, like the individual grains of sand falling from the top to the bottom of the glass.

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