Absolute dating of rocks and fossils

This just goes to show that just because independent estimates of age seem to agree with each other doesn't mean that they're correct - despite the fact that this particular argument is the very same one used to support the validity of radiometric dating today.Other factors and basic assumptions must also be considered.It is initially formed in the molten rock that lies beneath the Earth’s crust.A common problem with any dating method is that a sample may be contaminated with older or younger material and give a false age.Another useful chemical analysis technique involves calculating the amount of nitrogen within a bone.Instead, other methods are used to work out a fossil’s age.

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Argon is gas that gradually builds up within rocks from the decay of radioactive potassium.Sedimentary rocks are rarely useful for dating because they are made up of bits of older rocks.This technique is, however, useful for providing relative dates for objects found at the same site.Measuring the proportions of argon-39 and argon-40 within a sample allows the age of the sample to be determined.Login or Sign up In previous lessons, we talked about the Geologic Time Scale and how scientists use it to piece together the history of the earth.

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