Radioactive dating meteorites

Methods of Dating the Age of Meteorites

No really, its pretty hard to obtain old, OLD rocks and minerals. Best bet is to analyze meteorites. By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service , privacy policy and cookie policy , and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered.

Why is Earth's age given by dating meteorites rather than its own rocks? Chirac Chirac 1 5 There are two problems: We don't have materials from the time of Earth's formation. The Earth is a dynamic place, and rocks are getting formed and destroyed all the time also see related question. It may be that such old rocks exist on Earth, but because they are so old there are either metamorphosed and buried deep in the Earth or covered by sedimentary rocks. The oldest exposed rock on Earth available for study is the 4 billion year Acasta Gneiss in Canada.

The oldest mineral on Earth is a zircon found in Australia, which is 4.

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These are the only two materials that are known to be older than 4 billion years on Earth. There could be more, but we just couldn't find them.


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The moon forming event occurred some tens of million of years after the formation of the Earth. This event destroyed the Earth's crust and any evidence of the age of the Earth, on Earth itself.

Radioactive dating of meteorites

We could use rock datation, but most of them are unreachable, am I right? Thank you for this Michael. So they are between 20 and 30 years old. But there could be someone who is 40 years old. You just can't reach him to ask him for his age. So both the uranium and the lead need to still be together in a large sample.

Furthermore, there are two decay pathways. The meteoroids formed then. A meteoroid becomes a meteor when it enters the atmosphere, then if anything makes it all the way to the planetary surface, that remnant is a meteorite.

Similarly, we say that Michelangelo's David was formed in , not whenever the marble formed: Loren Pechtel Loren Pechtel 1 4. Not that it matters since everything was blown up again in the moon forming event.

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Radiometric dating - Wikipedia

But then you had continental crust at least 4. This article describes the principles and methods used to make that determination.

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There are well-known methods of finding the ages of some natural objects. Trees undergo spurts in growth in the spring and summer months while becoming somewhat dormant in the fall and winter months. When a tree is cut down, these periods are exhibited in a cross section of the trunk in the form of rings. Simply counting the number of rings will give one a fairly good idea of the age of the tree.

Periods of heavy rain and lots of sunshine will make larger gaps of growth in the rings, while periods of drought might make it difficult to count individual rings. When determining the ages of very old objects, the only suitable clocks we have found involve the measurement of decay products of radioactive isotopes. Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different amounts of neutrons.

Some isotopes are stable, whereas others are radioactive and decay into other components called daughter isotopes.


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For example, hydrogen has two stable isotopes 1 H ordinary hydrogen , 2 H deuterium , and one radioactive isotope 3 H tritium. The superscript denotes the atomic weight of the isotope the number of protons and neutrons. Radioactive isotopes decay according to a power law, and the typical unit given for this is called the half-life of the isotope.

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