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Posted by / 02-Jun-2015 17:02

Spectrographic dating

I found several good sources, but none that seemed both complete enough to stand alone and simple enough for a What is radiometric dating?

Simply stated, radiometric dating is a way of determining the age of a sample of material using the decay rates of radio-active nuclides to provide a 'clock.' It relies on three basic rules, plus a couple of critical assumptions.

Radiometric dating methods are the strongest direct evidence that geologists have for the age of the Earth.

All these methods point to Earth being very, very old -- several billions of years old.

Since all atoms of the same element have the same number of protons, different nuclides of an element differ in the number of neutrons they contain.

For example, hydrogen-1 and hydrogen-2 are both nuclides of the element hydrogen, but hydrogen-1's nucleus contains only a proton, while hydrogen-2's nucleus contains a proton and a neutron.

Uranium-238 contains 92 protons and 146 neutrons, while uranium-235 contains 92 protons and 143 neutrons.

To keep it short, a nuclide is usually written using the elements abbreviation.

The rules are the same in all cases; the assumptions are different for each method.

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To explain those rules, I'll need to talk about some basic atomic physics. Hydrogen-1's nucleus consists of only a single proton.

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