Radioactive dating of rocks puts the age of the earth as

Added: Ernest Vangilder - Date: 05.10.2021 11:56 - Views: 33100 - Clicks: 4828

David H. Bailey does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. In one respect, science and religion have been largely reconciled since the 19th century, when geologists such as Charles Lyell recognised the evidence for a very old Earth. Within a few decades, most mainstream religious denominations accepted this view as well.

But, much to the consternation of scientists, young-Earth creationismwhich holds Earth is only about 6, years old, continues to be promoted in some quarters, and remains very popular with the public, especially in the United States. By contrast, and more representative of OECD countries, only about half as many Canadians espouse such beliefs. Such notions, of course, differ vastly to the findings of modern science, which pegs the age of the earth at 4.

While there are numerous experimental methods used to determine geologic ages, the most frequently employed technique is radiometric datingbased on measurements of various radioactive isotopes in rocks. The phenomenon of radioactivity is rooted in the fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulae, taught to Radioactive dating of rocks puts the age of the earth as calculus students. Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinised over several decades, and the latest high-tech equipment permits reliable to be obtained even with microscopic rock samples.

Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data after certain preliminary calculations are made are fitted to a straight line called an isochron by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics. The slope of the line determines the age of the rock, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of this conclusion.

The graphic below gives the general idea, and more technical detail can be found here. So are radiometric methods foolproof? The overall reliability of radiometric dating was addressed in some detail in a recent book by Brent Dalrymple, an expert in the field. Dalrymple also notes scientists do not rely solely on the self-checking nature of radiometric dating to confirm their. They repeat their measurements to eliminate laboratory error, and wherever possible they apply multiple dating procedures to the same rock sample. Until recently, only large scientific laboratories could afford mass spectrometersthe principal tool used to measure dates of rock samples.

But recently the prices of these devices have dropped to levels that even amateur meteorite hunters and others can afford. Some people have suggested the most hardcore flat-Earth believers did not give up their fight until they could hold a GPS receiver in their hand that gave their latitude-longitude position.

Will sceptics of old-Earth geology wait until mass spectrometers are in every home before finally conceding that the earth is more than 6, years old? Radiometric dating, as with any other experimental discipline, is subject to a variety of errors, ranging from human error to rare anomalies resulting from highly unusual natural circumstances. But while errors and anomalies can occur, the burden of proof is not on scientists to fully for each and every error.

The burden is on sceptics to explain why tens of thousands of other carefully measured ages are all internally and externally consistent. Indeed, there is no known physical phenomenon that can yield consistent in many thousands of measurements, year after year, except one: the isotopic decay in these geological specimens, measured by radiometric dating.

A version of this article first appeared on Math Drudge. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. BaileyUniversity of California, Davis.

Radioactive dating of rocks puts the age of the earth as

email: [email protected] - phone:(398) 542-2758 x 4845

Cite This Item