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Unlike the other radioactive isotopes, carbon, beryllium, and chlorine are constantly being replenished in small amounts by a special mechanism. Some types of dating work better in some rocks; others are better in other rocks, depending on the rock composition and its age. Thus, even if it is considered that the bluestones were moved by human transport, the Chlorine dates do not tell us at what era that movement might have taken place. If the argon is from decay of potassium within the rock, it will come out at the same temperatures as the potassium-derived argon and in a constant proportion. We welcome further evidence in the Stonehenge debate, but are concerned about misinterpretations. The intermediate elements in the decay chain do not help matters either. The age of the rock can be determined from the slope of the line. Because of their great age, they have been especially well studied. This may simply have to do with what the media is talking about. Work on radiometric dating first started shortly after the turn of the century, but progress was relatively slow before the late forties. In this way the potassium-argon clock is clearly reset when an igneous rock is formed. We can then use radioactive age dating in order to date the ages of the surfaces when the rocks first formed, i.
Once the molten material hardens, it again begins to trap the argon produced from its potassium. As a result, living things, both plants and animals, ingest very small amounts of carbon, and lake and sea sediments take up small amounts of beryllium and chlorine Although it has been around for over a quarter of a century, the argon-argon method is seldom discussed by groups critical of dating methods. The variations occur because the source of carbon at the top of the atmosphere is slightly variable. Instead of simply comparing the total potassium with the non-air argon in the rock, this method can tell exactly what and how much argon is directly related to the potassium in the rock. Figure 4 is an important type of plot used in rubidium-strontium dating. A line drawn through the samples at any later time will intersect the horizontal line at the same point in the lower left-hand corner. At least some of the bluestones were dressed and the argument continues about which, and how many were altered in this way. The x-axis gives the amount of the total argon released from the sample. Usually a good geologist can distinguish these "xenoliths" from the younger minerals all around them. This is not a problem because the production ratio of these two daughter products is precisely known, and is always constant: However, these isotope ratios are usually measured to extreme accuracy--several parts in ten thousand--so that accurate dates can be obtained even for ages less than one fiftieth of a half-life, and correspondingly small slopes. However, in reality there is often a small amount of argon remaining in a rock when it hardens. Below is a list of some common elements. If he or she does happen to use them for dating the rock, the points represented by these minerals will lie off the line made by the rest of the points. Dinosaur bones do not have carbon unless contaminated , as the dinosaurs became extinct over 60 million years ago, but some other animals that are now extinct, such as North American mammoths, can be dated by carbon Each decays through a series of short-lived radioactive elements that are produced and almost immediately decay to a lighter element, finally ending at lead. The samarium-neodymium method has also been shown to be more resistant to being disturbed by metamorphic heating events, so for some metamorphosed rocks the samarium-neodymium method is preferred. Using these methods is a little like trying to tell time from an hourglass that was turned over before all of the sand had fallen to the bottom. Because of their great age, they have been especially well studied. This information is also of significant interest to geologists. Unfortunately, it will not. The rhenium-osmium method takes advantage of the fact that the osmium concentration in most rocks and minerals is very low, so that a small amount of the parent rhenium can produce a significant change in the osmium isotope ratio. The ratio of strontium to another stable isotope, say strontium, increases over time as more rubidium turns to strontium This predictable decay is called the half-life of the parent atom, the time it takes for one half of all of the parent atoms to transform into the daughter.
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