Radiometric Dating Methods

Topics: Stratigraphy, Geology, Carbon Pages: 3 (963 words) Published: November 27, 2006
With gratitude to a various amount of modern radiometric dating methods, scientists and researchers now have the ability to decipher the age, era, or period of earth's ancient artifacts, geological strata, or fossils in which it now contains. Even the earth's formation and existence can be subject to these scientifical dating methods. These methods can be performed on samples as small as one billionth of a gram; unfortunately, most of these experiments require the utilization of special instruments such as a mass spectrometer and can often be costly to conduct. And though radiometric dating methods are rarely one hundred percent accurate, scientist and researchers are still willing to take the risk, for the sake of science or perhaps pure curiosity.

The way in which chronological dating is acquired falls within two methods of examination: Absolute Dating and Relative Dating. (Michels 1973) Generally, scientists use both methods in combination and interrelation with another. Absolute Dating is a method in which the actual age of an object or stratigraphic layer is determined. Relative Dating is a method in which it uses the absolute date to tie associated artifacts and layers into the sequence.

Among many of the radiometric dating methods, the most fundamental principle lies within the research of archeologists. The Law of Superposition is the standard in which scientists go by determining the relative ages of archeological materials within strata, the natural materials such as rocks, soil, and traces of plants and animals that settle on the earth's surface and over time that accumulate in layers.(Edwards 1985) The Law of Superposition states that young strata will be deposited on strata that are older, given the normal conditions of deposition; therefore, artifacts found within older strata will logically be older than artifacts found within younger strata. This law is the guiding principle of stratigraphy – the study of strata or layers.

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References: Cited
Edwards, Paul and Gordon Stein
1985 Encyclopedia of Unbelief, The. Prometheus Books, New York.
Gore, Pamela J.W.
1999 Radiometric Dating. 9 Oct. 2006.
Michels, Joseph W.
1973 Dating Methods In Archaeology. Seminar Press, New York.
Pool, Lynn
1961 Carbon-14 and Other Science Methods That Date The Past. McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc., New York
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