Radioactive dating to measure age of earth

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Since the early twentieth century scientists have found ways to accurately measure geological time. The discovery of radioactivity in uranium by the French physicist, Henri Becquerelin paved the way of measuring absolute time. Shortly after Becquerel's find, Marie Curiea French chemist, isolated another highly radioactive element, radium. The realisation that radioactive materials emit rays indicated a constant change of those materials from one element to another. The New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherfordsuggested in that the exact age of a rock could be measured by means of radioactivity.

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The Age of the Earth

Radiometric dating calculates an age in years for geologic materials by measuring the presence of a short-life radioactive element, e. The term applies to all methods of age determination based on nuclear decay of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes. Bates and Jackson To determine the ages in years of Earth materials and the timing of geologic events such as exhumation and subduction, geologists utilize the process of radiometric decay. Geologists use these dates to further define the boundaries of the geologic periods shown on the geologic time scale. Radiometric decay occurs when the nucleus of a radioactive atom spontaneously transforms into an atomic nucleus of a different, more stable isotope.

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References and Recommended Reading

The age of the Earth is estimated to be 4. Following the development of radiometric age-dating in the early 20th century, measurements of lead in uranium-rich minerals showed that some were in excess of a billion years old. It is hypothesised that the accretion of Earth began soon after the formation of the calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions and the meteorites. Because the time this accretion process took is not yet known, and predictions from different accretion models range from a few million up to about million years, the difference between the age of Earth and of the oldest rocks is difficult to determine. It is also difficult to determine the exact age of the oldest rocks on Earth, exposed at the surface, as they are aggregates of minerals of possibly different ages.

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