Scientific definition of radioactive dating

In the case of the initial conditions, no scientist can ever be sure as to what they were, because no scientist was present here on the earth at its origin.Thus the amount of daughter isotope that has actually been derived from the parent isotope by radioactive decay is unknown, since some of the daughter isotope might have been present with its respective parent isotope at the time of the earth’s origin.These assumptions are: So that these assumptions are easily understood, they are best explained in the context of the hourglass analogy (see Figure 1).

In order to interpret these chemical analyses, geochronologists must make three vital assumptions, otherwise the radioactive ‘clock’ cannot be made to ‘read’ the ‘age’ of the rocks.So geochronologists have assumed that the uranium, thorium and lead isotopic composition of particular meteorites is equivalent to the initial composition of these isotopes when the earth came into existence.This is assumed because it is supposed that these meteorites represent fragments from another planet in the solar system similar to our earth that disintegrated very early in the history of the solar system.To achieve stability, some ‘particles’ are ejected from the atoms, and these moving ‘particles’ constitute the radioactivity measured by Geiger counters and the like.

The end result is stable atoms of the ‘daughter’ elements lead, argon, and strontium respectively.

Furthermore, by interpretation of these graphs they often claim to be able to quantify the loss or gain and thus overcome this difficulty to still ‘read’ the radioactive ‘clock’.

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