How old is the earth radiometric dating
You also need to know when you can or cannot apply a particular type of device to the task at hand; for example, if you want to know how hot it is on the inside of an active wood stove, you probably understand that putting a household thermometer intended to measure body temperature inside the stove is not going to prove helpful.
Be aware also that for many centuries, most human "knowledge" of the age of rocks, formations such as the Grand Canyon, and everything else around you was predicated on the Genesis account of the Bible, which posits that the entire cosmos is perhaps 10,000 years old.
To understand radiometric dating techniques, you first have to have an understanding of what is being measured, how the measurement is being made and the theoretical as well as practical limitations of the system of measurement being used.
As an analogy, say you find yourself wondering, "How warm (or cold) is it outside?
Sure, you can scour the Internet and learn rather quickly that the scientific consensus pins the age of of the planet at about 4.6 billion years.
But Google didn't invent this number; instead, human ingenuity and applied physics have provided it.
This is because when radioactive elements first come into being, they are presumed to consist entirely of a single isotope.
Imagine that you enjoy a certain kind of ice cream flavored with chocolate chips.
Scientists interested in figuring out the age of a fossil or rock analyze a sample to determine the ratio of a given radioactive element's daughter isotope (or isotopes) to its parent isotope in that sample.
Many substances, however, both biological and chemical, conform to a different mechanism: In a given time period, half of the substance will disappear in a fixed time no matter how much is present to start with.
Such substances are said to have a The utility of this lies in being able to calculate with ease how much of a given element was present at the time it was formed based on how much is present at the time of measurement.
Mathematically, from the above equations, this is N/N The trick is knowing which of the various common radioactive isotopes to look for.
This in turn depends in the approximate expected age of the object because radioactive elements decay at enormously different rates.