Radiometric dating geology

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An example is shown in Figure 8.16; radiocarbon dates from wood fragments in glacial sediments have been used to estimate the time of the last glacial advance along the Strait of Georgia. Figure 8.16 Radiocarbon dates on wood fragments in glacial sediments in the Strait of Georgia [SE after Clague, J, 1976, Quadra Sand and its relation to late Wisconsin glaciation of southeast British Columbia, Can. Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.This is determined by drawing a horizontal line from 0.95 to the decay curve line, and then a vertical line from there to the time axis.[SE] K-Ar is just one of many isotope-pairs that are useful for dating geological materials.

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When radiometric techniques are applied to metamorphic rocks, the results normally tell us the date of metamorphism, not the date when the parent rock formed.

Pretty obvious that the dike came after the rocks it cuts through, right?

With absolute age dating, you get a real age in actual years.

In most cases, we cannot use isotopic techniques to directly date fossils or the sedimentary rocks they are found in, but we can constrain their ages by dating igneous rocks that cut across sedimentary rocks, or volcanic ash layers that lie within sedimentary layers.

Isotopic dating of rocks, or the minerals in them, is based on the fact that we know the decay rates of certain unstable isotopes of elements and that these rates have been constant over geological time.

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