Rock dating techniques
Thus, if we start out with 1 gram of the parent isotope, after the passage of 1 half-life there will be 0.5 gram of the parent isotope left.After the passage of two half-lives only 0.25 gram will remain, and after 3 half lives only 0.125 will remain etc.We can also construct a Concordia diagram, which shows the values of Pb isotopes that would give concordant dates.The Concordia curve can be calculated by defining the following: ).Say for example that a volcanic dike, or a fault, cuts across several sedimentary layers, or maybe through another volcanic rock type.
In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.U leakage would cause discordant points to plot above the cocordia. Lunar rocks also lie on the Geochron, at least suggesting that the moon formed at the same time as meteorites. Pb separated from continents and thus from average crust also plots on the Geochron, and thus suggests that the Earth formed at the same time as the meteorites and moon.But, again, exptrapolation of the discordia back to the two points where it intersects the Concordia, would give two ages - t* representing the possible metamorphic event and t and solve for t . This argument tells when the elements were formed that make up the Earth, but does not really give us the age of the Earth. Thus, our best estimate of the age of the Earth is 4.55 billion years.For example lavas dated by K-Ar that are historic in age, usually show 1 to 2 my old ages due to trapped Ar.Such trapped Ar is not problematical when the age of the rock is in hundreds of millions of years.