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Radioactive decay and dating rocks

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For example lavas dated by K-Ar that are historic in age, usually show 1 to 2 my old ages due to trapped Ar.

Such trapped Ar is not problematical when the age of the rock is in hundreds of millions of years.

Nd ratios on several minerals with a mass spectrometer and then from the slope determine the age of the rock. If a magma cools quickly on the surface of the Earth, some of the Ar may be trapped.

Although we now recognize lots of problems with that calculation, the age of 25 my was accepted by most physicists, but considered too short by most geologists. Recognition that radioactive decay of atoms occurs in the Earth was important in two respects: Principles of Radiometric Dating Radioactive decay is described in terms of the probability that a constituent particle of the nucleus of an atom will escape through the potential (Energy) barrier which bonds them to the nucleus.

To see how we actually use this information to date rocks, consider the following: Usually, we know the amount, N, of an isotope present today, and the amount of a daughter element produced by decay, D*.

By definition, D* = N-1) (2) Now we can calculate the age if we know the number of daughter atoms produced by decay, D* and the number of parent atoms now present, N.

Pb leakage is the most likely cause of discordant dates, since Pb will be occupying a site in the crystal that has suffered radiation damage as a result of U decay.

U would have been stable in the crystallographic site, but the site is now occupied by by Pb.