Advantages and disadvantages of radiometric dating

Uranium-Lead dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the decay chain of uranium and lead to find the age of a rock.

As uranium decays radioactively, it becomes different chemical elements until it stops at lead.

The three main parameters that have to be set are the original amount of uranium and lead in the sample, the rate at which uranium and lead enter and leave the sample, and how much the rate of decay changes.

Uranium-lead dating uses four different isotopes to find the age of the rock.

That is, a fresh mineral grain has its K-Ar "clock" set at zero.

The method relies on satisfying some important assumptions: Given careful work in the field and in the lab, these assumptions can be met.

The radiometric dater then uses the half-life of all four isotopes to find an age range the rock should be in.

You will investigate Steno's Laws, radiometric dating, and then visit an interactive site that will help you better understand how to tell time - with geology! As you proceed through Assignment 4, be sure to compare your answers from "If Scientists Think. ." to the actual methods scientists use to estimate the age of prehistoric objects.In Assignment 3, we began exploring the age of the Earth. Through presentation and discussion of individual ideas, the class reached agreements as to the best way to complete each of the prompts.You worked in small groups and as a class to complete the "If Scientists Think. Today's assignment will allow you to compare and contrast your ideas to some of the actual methods scientists used to develop an estimation of the age of the Earth.Because this assignment is linked with your work in Assignment 3, you will have "If Scientists Think. Before scientists had modern technology to assist them in their research, they had to use their power of observation to infer the relative ages of the rocks they were studying.The process of Relative Dating was established by Nicholaus Steno in the 1600's.

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