Most accurate form of radiometric dating

20-Feb-2020 00:13

"This will have a big impact on radio-isotopic dating in general."Mundil and his colleagues, including BGC director Paul Renne, adjunct professor of earth and planetary science at UC Berkeley, used this improved U/Pb technique to establish a more accurate date for the end of the Permian period and the beginning of the Triassic period - 252.6 million years ago, plus or minus 200,000 years.This boundary coincides with the largest extinction of life on Earth, when most marine invertebrates died out, including the well-known flat, segmented trilobites.Uranium, on the other hand, is so well studied that its decay constant is much better known, making the U/Pb dating technique more accurate, Mundil noted.U/Pb dating relies upon the decay of naturally occurring uranium and different isotopes of lead."Further application of Mundil's approach will make the geologic time scale more accurate, letting us calibrate extinctions and important events in Earth's history, ranging from 100 million to several billion years ago, with unparalleled accuracy," Renne added. This is an enormous branch of geochemistry called Geochronology. It is an accurate way to date specific geologic events.

Comparison of the amount of argon-39 produced in a nuclear reactor to the amount of argon-40 gives a measure of the age of the rocks.For example, the element Uranium exists as one of several isotopes, some of which are unstable.When an unstable Uranium (U) isotope decays, it turns into an isotope of the element Lead (Pb).Whereas the U/Pb method yields ages which are more accurate, "Ar/Ar is still king in dating rocks younger than 100 million years and is about as precise as U/Pb methods, though we need to get better data for the decay constants to establish an absolute calibration," Renne said."As soon as that calibration is put in place, the Ar/Ar method could become as accurate as U/Pb."The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Ludwig of the BGC and Ian Metcalfe of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, also participated in the study.

Comparison of the amount of argon-39 produced in a nuclear reactor to the amount of argon-40 gives a measure of the age of the rocks.For example, the element Uranium exists as one of several isotopes, some of which are unstable.When an unstable Uranium (U) isotope decays, it turns into an isotope of the element Lead (Pb).Whereas the U/Pb method yields ages which are more accurate, "Ar/Ar is still king in dating rocks younger than 100 million years and is about as precise as U/Pb methods, though we need to get better data for the decay constants to establish an absolute calibration," Renne said."As soon as that calibration is put in place, the Ar/Ar method could become as accurate as U/Pb."The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Ludwig of the BGC and Ian Metcalfe of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, also participated in the study.For example, a problem I have worked on involving the eruption of a volcano at what is now Naples, Italy, occurred 38500 years ago with a plus or minus of 300 years.