Earth dating systems


10-Jul-2017 12:07

Based on our study of meteorites and rocks from the Moon, as well as modeling the formation of planets, it is believed (pretty much well-established) that all of the objects in the Solar System formed very quickly about 4.56 billion years ago.

When we age date a planet, we are actually just dating the age of the surface, not the whole planet.

On the other hand, the number of neutrons that can be contained in the nucleus can vary.

When the number of neutrons is in balance with the number of protons (which does not necessarily means that the number of neutrons has to be exactly the same as the number of protons) then the atoms of a particular element is said to be stable.

Once the half life of an isotope and its decay path are known, it is possible to use the radioactive decay for dating the substance (rock) it belongs to, by measuring the amount of parent and daughter contained in the sample.

An important point is that we must have an idea of how much of the daughter isotope was in the sample before the decay started.

Both carbon-12 and carbon-13 are stable, but carbon-14 is unstable, which means that there are too many neutrons in the nucleus. As a result, carbon-14 decays by changing one proton into a neutron and becoming a different element, nitrogen-14 (with 7 protons and 7 neutrons in the nucleus).

The isotope originating from the decay (nitrogen-14 in the case of radiocarbon) is called the daughter, while the original radioactive isotope (like carbon-14) is called the parent.

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We thus have three different isotopes of carbon: Carbon-12 with 6 protons and 6 neutrons in the nucleus, Carbon-13 with 6 protons and 7 neutrons in the nucleus, Carbon-14 with 6 protons and 8 neutrons in the nucleus.Earth) and what could happen to Earth in an extreme case, etc.



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