How accurate is radioactive isotope dating

14 Jul

Measuring the ratio of C14 to C12 and C13 therefore dates the organic matter for periods back to about eight half-lives of the isotope, 45,000 years.After a long enough time the minority isotope is in an amount too small to be measured.Familiar to us as the black substance in charred wood, as diamonds, and the graphite in “lead” pencils, carbon comes in several forms, or isotopes.One rare form has atoms that are 14 times as heavy as hydrogen atoms: carbon-14, or C ratio gets smaller.When we look at sand in an hourglass, we can estimate how much time has passed based on the amount of sand that has fallen to the bottom.Radioactive rocks offer a similar “clock.” Radioactive atoms, such as uranium (the parent isotopes), decay into stable atoms, such as lead (the daughter isotopes), at a measurable rate.While there is no proof that the rates were different in the past than they are today, there is also no proof that they were the same.

People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history. Christians, by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously.

There are about two dozen decay pairs used for dating.

Uranium 235 decay to lead has a half-life of 713 million years, so it is well suited to dating the universe.

Radiometric dating is the method for establishing the age of objects by measuring the levels of radioisotopes in the sample. It decays to nitrogen 14 with a half life of 5730 years.

Carbon 14 is created by cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere.