Dating Rocks and Fossils Using Geologic Methods

Absolute dating definition anthropology Share facts or photos of intriguing scientific phenomena. Relative Vs. Absolute Dating. The Ultimate Face-off Our planet inherits a large number of artifacts and monuments bestowed upon us by older historic civilizations. These remains are subjected to dating techniques in order to predict their ages and trace their history. This ScienceStruck post enlists the differences between the absolute and relative dating methods. Although both relative and absolute dating methods are used to estimate the age of historical remains, the results produced by both these techniques for the same sample may be ambiguous.


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So, how do we know how old a fossil is? There are two main methods determining a fossils age, relative dating and absolute dating. Relative dating is used to determine a fossils approximate age by comparing it to similar rocks and fossils of known ages. Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil by using radiometric dating to measure the decay of isotopes, either within the fossil or more often the rocks associated with it.

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Rutherford postulated that radioactivity could be used to determine the age of the Earth. Age estimates for the Earth that had been determined by rate of heat loss Lord Kelvin now had to make allowances for the heat energy associated with radioactive decay. Thus, scholars were able to argue for great antiquity of the rocks on Earth. It was really with the advent of data collection technologies after World War II that the radiometric dating field began to develop with rapidity. Radiometric dating must be viewed as having two forms. 1 techniques that rely on the decay of an isotope of an element, the production and decay of daughter decay products radiocarbon dating, potassium-argon, argon-argon, and uranium-lead, uranium series and 2 the techniques that rely on the crystal damage that is generated by the ionizing radiation generated by the decay of radioactive elements thermo luminescence, electron spin resonance, and fission track.

Radioactive Dating

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Dating Methods