Radioactive carbon dating is useful for the past

25-Oct-2016 05:39 by 9 Comments

Radioactive carbon dating is useful for the past

Doesn’t that prove the world is millions of years old?Radioactive dating may be one of the big questions looming in your mind.

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Radioactive dating begins by carefully measuring the concentrations of radioactive isotopes in rocks.It’s like cracking the hourglass and having some of the sand leak out, or other sand leak in.How can we know what disturbances have affected the elements in our rocks? Did you hear about the old wood cutter who was bragging about his axe?For example, there is a radioactive form of potassium (potassium-40) that decays into argon (argon-40).The unstable potassium isotope is called the parent while the argon product is called the daughter.‘I’ve had this trusty axe for fifty years,’ he said.

‘It’s only had two new heads and three new handles.’ The question is: how old was his axe? When a geologist hammers off a sample of rock he needs to know its history.The sand grains at the top of the sealed glass are like the atoms of the parent isotope in the rock, and those at the bottom like the atoms of the daughter.Radioactive decay is where the parent atoms change as a result of radioactive decay into daughter atoms, like the individual grains of sand falling from the top to the bottom of the glass.However, an hour glass is only useful if we saw it turned over observed that the bottom glass was empty.In other words, the hourglass only works when we know its initial condition.But after rocks crystallize from molten magma, they can be heated and cooled; they can be affected by metamorphic events and groundwater.

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