isochron dating assumptions

Katrina Hopper, 25 years old


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Isochron dating is a common radiometric dating technique applied to date natural events like the crystallization of minerals as they cool, changes in rocks by metamorphism, or what are essentially naturally occurring shock events like meteor strikes. Minerals present in these events contain various radioactive elements which decay and the resulting daughter elements can then be used to deduce the age of the mineral through an isochron. The appeal of isochron dating is that it does not presuppose the initial amount of the daughter nuclide in the decay sequence. Indeed, the initial amount is not important because it can be found through this type of isochron dating assumptions. Isochron dating began when scientists recognized difficulties with the assumptions of radiometric dating, especially how much of the daughter products might have been present when the mineral first formed.

The simplest form of isotopic age computation involves substituting three measurements into an equation of four variables, and solving for the fourth. The equation is the one which describes radioactive decay:. Isochron dating assumptions the equation for "age," and incorporating the computation of the original quantity of parent isotope, we get:. Some assumptions have been made in the discussion of generic dating, for the sake of keeping the computation simple.

However, it is not clear exactly when that happened. Whether it happened during a Flood can be reasonably questioned. In order for a change in the decay constant to be helpful to a creationist arguing for a short age for fossiliferous strata, the decay constant would have to change during the Flood. However, this would mean that the radioactive elements inside the bodies of Noah, his family, the animals in the ark, and whatever animals survived outside the ark were spared from the otherwise general increase in radioactive decay, or that their bodies proved resistant to the effects of the increased radioactivity.
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Radioactive decay has become one of the most useful methods for determining the age of formation of rocks. However, in the very principal of radiometric dating there are several vital assumptions that have to be made in order for the age to be considered valid. These assumptions include: isochron dating assumptions the initial amount of the daughter isotope is known, 2 neither parent or daughter product has migrated into, or out of, the closed rock system, and 3 decay has occurred at a constant rate over time. But what if one or some combination of these assumptions is incorrect? Then the computed age based on the accumulation of daughter products will be incorrect Stasson

Isochron dating is a common technique of radiometric dating and is applied to date certain events, such as crystallizationmetamorphismshock events, and differentiation of precursor melts, in the history of rocks. Isochron dating can be further separated into mineral isochron dating and whole rock isochron dating ; both techniques are applied frequently to date terrestrial and also extraterrestrial rocks meteorites. The advantage of isochron dating as compared to simple radiometric dating techniques is that no assumptions are needed about the initial amount of the daughter nuclide in the radioactive decay sequence. Indeed, the initial amount of the daughter product can be determined using isochron dating. This technique can be applied if the daughter element has at least one stable isotope other than the daughter isotope into which the parent nuclide decays. All forms of isochron dating assume that the source of the rock or rocks contained unknown amounts of both radiogenic and non-radiogenic isotopes of the daughter element, along with some amount of the parent nuclide. Thus, at the moment of crystallization, the ratio of the concentration of the radiogenic isotope of the daughter element to that of the non-radiogenic isotope is some value independent of the concentration of the parent. As time goes on, some amount of the parent decays isochron dating assumptions the radiogenic isotope of the daughter, increasing the ratio of the concentration of the radiogenic isotope to that of the daughter. The greater the initial concentration of the parent, the greater the concentration of the radiogenic daughter isotope will be at some particular time. Thus, the ratio of the daughter to non-radiogenic isotope will become larger with time, while the ratio of parent to daughter will become smaller.

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