Real radio dating
Let us imagine that the date reported by the lab was 150.7 ± 2.8 million years.Our geologist would be very happy with this result.He would say that the date represents the time when the volcanic lava solidified.Such an interpretation fits nicely into the range of what he already believes the age to be.The field relationships are generally broad, and a wide range of ‘dates’ can be interpreted as the time when the lava solidified.What would our geologist have thought if the date from the lab had been greater than 200 million years, say 350.5 ± 4.3 million years?From the mapped field relationships, it is a simple matter to work out a geological cross-section and the relative timing of the geologic events.His geological cross-section may look something like Figure 2.
The field relationships, as they are called, are of primary importance and all radiometric dates are evaluated against them.The man's body was recovered and pieces of tissue were studied for their C content by accelerator mass spectroscopy.The best estimate from this dating technique says the man lived between 33 BC. From the ratio, the time since the formation of the rock can be calculated.The boat of a pharaoh was discovered in a sealed crypt and reassembled in a museum near the pyramids (see Fig. The age of our galaxy and earth also can be estimated using radioactive dating.Using the decays of uranium and thorium, our galaxy has been found to be between 10 and 20 billion years old and the earth has been found to be 4.6 billion years old. Within experimental error, this estimate agrees with the 15 billion year estimate of the age of the Universe.