Do radiometric dating problems

23-Mar-2020 12:21

Biostratigraphy: One of the first and most basic scientific dating methods is also one of the easiest to understand.

Layers of rock build one atop another — find a fossil or artifact in one layer, and you can reasonably assume it’s older than anything above it.

The number of protons in an atom determines which element it is, while the number of neutrons determines which isotope it is.

For example, strontium-86 has 38 protons and 48 neutrons, whereas strontium-87 has 38 protons and 49 neutrons.

Paleontologists still commonly use biostratigraphy to date fossils, often in combination with paleomagnetism and tephrochronology.

A submethod within biostratigraphy is faunal association: Sometimes researchers can determine a rough age for a fossil based on established ages of other fauna from the same layer — especially microfauna, which evolve faster, creating shorter spans in the fossil record for each species.

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By evaluating the concentrations of all of these isotopes in a rock sample, scientists can determine what its original make-up of strontium and rubidium were.

Paleomagnetism: Earth’s magnetic polarity flip-flops about every 100,000 to 600,000 years.

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