Radiometric dating parent daughter isotopes


14-May-2020 22:44

My purpose here is not to review and discuss all of the dating methods in use.

Until the 18th century, this question was principally in the hands of theologians, who based their calculations on biblical chronology.

James Hutton, a physician-farmer and one of the founders of the science of geology, wrote in 1788, “The result, therefore, of our present inquiry is, that we find no vestige of a beginning, — no prospect of an end.” Although this may now sound like an overstatement, it nicely expresses the tremendous intellectual leap required when geologic time was finally and forever severed from the artificial limits imposed by the length of the human lifetime.

By the mid- to late 1800s, geologists, physicists, and chemists were searching for ways to quantify the age of the Earth.

For example, a method based on a parent isotope with a very long half-life, such as C method can only be used to determine the ages of certain types of young organic material and is useless on old granites.

Some methods work only on closed systems, whereas others work on open systems.The point is that not all methods are applicable to all rocks of all ages.