Radiometric dating example problems

29 Jan

Carbon-14 dating can be used on objects ranging from a few hundred years old to 50,000 years old.

Libby and others (University of Chicago) devised a method of estimating the age of organic material based on the decay rate of carbon-14.

On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years.

We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods.

It might take a millisecond, or it might take a century. But if you have a large enough sample, a pattern begins to emerge.

It takes a certain amount of time for half the atoms in a sample to decay.

You can even believe in evolution and be a Christian.

Knowing about half-lives is important because it enables you to determine when a sample of radioactive material is safe to handle.In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.Imagine we have an undiscovered element, Parentium, that has a radioactive isotope, Parentium-123, which decays to stable Daughterium-123.This is the only way Parentium-123 decays, and there is no other source of Daughterium-123.