What is needed to do radiometric dating
The radiometric dating method is basically an extrapolation of the form shown in Fig. If the decay constant is known with great accuracy, an extrapolation over one or two thousand years may be regarded as quite reasonable. It should be obvious that the further one projects present rates, the more likely one is to be quite wrong. era started about 1955 with the publication of a classic paper by Patterson In spite of cautions and scepticism advised by the authors this number has been widely and enthusiastically accepted and is usually quoted as if the evidence was decisive and conclusive. Lead-206 and lead-207 are known daughter products from the decay of uranium-238 and uranium-235, respectively.
It has assumed something of the status of a universal constant to which all other data must be fitted, thus it has become common practice to assume that data which does not fit this result is either wrong or unintelligible. Lead-204, a minor isotope of common lead, has no radioactive parent and is believed to be primordial lead.
It is probably because of this type of evidence for extensive mixing in the alteration zone that Patterson “In view of the evidence for extensive mixing, it would seem contrary to the facts to postulate differing frozen lead/uranium ratios that have existed for billions of years.
The requirements of the assumptions in the lead ore method are so extreme it is unlikely that it should give a correct age.” So they took a different approach.
Therefore, all one has to do in general terms is to find a radioactive mineral which has been a closed system since the time of mineralization, and for which the amount of the daughter product at the beginning is known, the so-called primordial amount, and the absolute age may be calculated from the present amount of parent and daughter isotopes in the mineral.
Higher ratios are formed as the lead is fed by ageing uranium ore bodies. old lead fed continuously by uranium occurs at a lead-206 to lead-204 ratio of 18.5, which is taken as the present ratio for common lead. 3 since they have negative ages, that is, ages extending billions of years into the future, in some cases. Therefore the ores lying in the time clock zone are not necessarily any more a reflection of age than those lying in the alteration zone and ones lying in the alteration zone cannot possibly be time indicators.
That difficulty aside, they were selected because they contain very little uranium and thorium and are therefore unlikely to contain significant radiogenic lead.
However, it is even more surprising to learn that the lead isotope ratios chosen by Patterson Most meteorites have lead isotope ratios similar to those of present day common lead.
They estimated the age of the Earth by substituting the lead isotope ratios of certain meteorites in the Holmes-Houtermans equation.
In this equation the primordial lead ratios are required.
Search for what is needed to do radiometric dating:
magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this.