Ten most important dating questions

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: If one of these assumptions has been violated, the simple computation above yields an incorrect age.

There is no good way to tell how close the computed result is likely to be to the actual age.Note that the mere existence of these assumptions do not render the simpler dating methods entirely useless.In many cases, there are independent cues (such as geologic setting or the chemistry of the specimen) which can suggest that such assumptions are entirely reasonable.The better the fit of the data to the line, the lower the uncertainty.For further information on fitting of lines to data (also known as regression analysis), see: Note that the methods used by isotope geologists (as described by York) are much more complicated than those described by Gonick.

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Each such age would match the result given by the isochron.

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