Types of absolute dating techniques


15-Feb-2020 14:12

The procedures used to isolate and analyze the parent and daughter nuclides must be precise and accurate.This normally involves isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. The precision of a dating method depends in part on the half-life of the radioactive isotope involved.A particular isotope of a particular element is called a nuclide. That is, at some point in time, an atom of such a nuclide will undergo radioactive decay and spontaneously transform into a different nuclide.This transformation may be accomplished in a number of different ways, including alpha decay (emission of alpha particles) and beta decay (electron emission, positron emission, or electron capture).The temperature at which this happens is known as the closure temperature or blocking temperature and is specific to a particular material and isotopic system.These temperatures are experimentally determined in the lab by artificially resetting sample minerals using a high-temperature furnace.For most radioactive nuclides, the half-life depends solely on nuclear properties and is essentially a constant.

For all other nuclides, the proportion of the original nuclide to its decay products changes in a predictable way as the original nuclide decays over time.As the mineral cools, the crystal structure begins to form and diffusion of isotopes is less easy.At a certain temperature, the crystal structure has formed sufficiently to prevent diffusion of isotopes.This predictability allows the relative abundances of related nuclides to be used as a clock to measure the time from the incorporation of the original nuclides into a material to the present.

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The basic equation of radiometric dating requires that neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product can enter or leave the material after its formation.Precision is enhanced if measurements are taken on multiple samples from different locations of the rock body.



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