Do radiometric dating problems

11-Jan-2020 01:19

Then, by assessing the isotope concentrations of rubidium and strontium, scientists can back-calculate to determine when the rock was formed.

The three isotopes mentioned can be used for dating rock formations and meteorites; the method typically works best on igneous rocks. The data from radioisotope analysis tends to be somewhat scattered.

So, researchers "normalize" the data by making a ratio with strontium-86, which is stable -- meaning it doesn't decay over time.

Dividing the isotope concentrations of all the forms of strontium and rubidium by the isotope concentration of strontium-86 generates something called the "isochron." The isochron is then plugged into a model, which uses it to turn the overall radioisotope data into a clear, linear function.

This function is able to tell researchers how old a sample is. But there's a wrinkle in the process that has been overlooked.

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For example, strontium-86 has 38 protons and 48 neutrons, whereas strontium-87 has 38 protons and 49 neutrons.Paleomagnetism: Earth’s magnetic polarity flip-flops about every 100,000 to 600,000 years.