What information is obtained from radioactive dating

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Possible discussion questions: Bring in an hourglass; demonstrate that time can be measured with a physical process (sand falling).Use multiple hourglasses to illustrate precision in measurements – preparing for a discussion of the use of multiple radiometric systems. Show slides, step-by-step, of the process, from sample collection to mass spectrometry.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 is so chemically reactive that it must be stored under oxygen-free liquid paraffin to prevent oxidation.Thus, it can move somewhat freely in most rock matrices.

However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over 500 million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old.

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source (rā'dē-ō-mět'rĭk) A method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it.

For inorganic materials, such as rocks containing the radioactive isotope rubidium, the amount of the isotope in the object is compared to the amount of the isotope's decay products (in this case strontium).

Figure 1 schematically illustrates these three processes.

Potassium (K), along with lithium (Li), sodium (Na), rubidium (Rb), and caesium (Cs), is an alkali metal that reacts violently with water, air, and the halogen elements (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine).

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