What is the purpose of absolute dating

11 Sep

Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson. As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows.However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.There are different methods of radiometric dating that will vary due to the type of material that is being dated.For example, uranium-lead dating can be used to find the age of a uranium-containing mineral.

Absolute dating by means of uranium and lead isotopes has...The thing that makes this decay process so valuable for determining the age of an object is that each radioactive isotope decays at its own fixed rate, which is expressed in terms of its half-life.So, if you know the radioactive isotope found in a substance and the isotope's half-life, you can calculate the age of the substance. Well, a simple explanation is that it is the time required for a quantity to fall to half of its starting value.Why send a rock to a laboratory and wait for a reply when you can just glance at the fossils it contains and say: "Ah yes, Early Ordovician"? Radiometric dating requires specialized equipment: lasers, spectrometers, or in the case of Ar-Ar dating a small nuclear reactor.Even the humblest items of equipment come at a price: laboratories that carry out U-Pb dating wash the bottles they use for two years continuously to eliminate contamination.