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Since the 1950s, geologists have used radioactive elements as natural "clocks" for determining numerical ages of certain types of rocks. "Forms" means the moment an igneous rock solidifies from magma, a sedimentary rock layer is deposited, or a rock heated by metamorphism cools off.

It's this resetting process that gives us the ability to date rocks that formed at different times in earth history.

In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.

There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.

geologic dating definition-10

Radioactive dating enables geologists to record the history of the earth and its events, such as the dinosaur era, within what they call the geologic time scale.The only problem is that we only know the number of daughter atoms now present, and some of those may have been present prior to the start of our clock. The reason for this is that Rb has become distributed unequally through the Earth over time.We can see how do deal with this if we take a particular case. For example the amount of Rb in mantle rocks is generally low, i.e. The mantle thus has a low If these two independent dates are the same, we say they are concordant.Carbon, uranium and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating.Each element is made up of atoms, and within each atom is a central particle called a nucleus.

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