Radioactive decay dating techniques
It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates.It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.
Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.He was employed at Caltech's Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences at the time of writing the first edition.In many cases, the daughter nuclide is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain.This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.Further evidence comes from the complete agreement between radiometric dates and other dating methods such as counting tree rings or glacier ice core layers.
Many Christians have been led to distrust radiometric dating and are completely unaware of the great number of laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent.
Systems that have been exploited for radiometric dating have half-lives ranging from only about 10 years (e.g., tritium) to over 100 billion years (e.g., Samarium-147).
However, in general, the half-life of a nuclide depends solely on its nuclear properties and is essentially a constant.
Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.
In these cases, the half-life of interest in radiometric dating is usually the longest one in the chain.
He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.