Carbon dating age determination

16 Nov

These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.

As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.

The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.

Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.

Students should be able to understand the principles and have that as a background so that age determinations by paleontologists and geologists don't seem like black magic. Geologists in the late 18th and early 19th century studied rock layers and the fossils in them to determine relative age.

William Smith was one of the most important scientists from this time who helped to develop knowledge of the succession of different fossils by studying their distribution through the sequence of sedimentary rocks in southern England.

3) To have students see that individual runs of statistical processes are less predictable than the average of many runs (or that runs with relatively small numbers involved are less dependable than runs with many numbers).It wasn't until well into the 20th century that enough information had accumulated about the rate of radioactive decay that the age of rocks and fossils in number of years could be determined through radiometric age dating.This activity on determining age of rocks and fossils is intended for 8th or 9th grade students.With the exception of Carbon-14, radiometric dating is used to date either igneous or metamorphic rocks that contain radioactive elements such as uranium. Now when the uranium or thorium disintegrates, the alpha particles which are emitted are slowed down by the crystals in which the grains of the uranium- or thorium-bearing minerals are embedded.And even though various radioactive elements have been used to "date" these rocks, for the most part, the methods are basically the same. This means that if you had some pure uranium-238 with no lead in it, 4.5 billion years later one half of it would have decayed into its stable daughter product (lead-206). Where these alpha particles finally stop, crystal deformation occurs (and) shows up as a discolouration or a darkening of the crystals.