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Transcript of URANIUM DATING
WHAT IS URANIUM DATING?
This is a method of dating archaeological or geological specimens by determining the decay activity of the uranium in a given sample.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Measures the amount of uranium and lead in rocks to determine the age.
SCIENCE BEHIND IT
Uranium has 2 common isotopes (235U and 238U).
After 4.47 billion years, 235U becomes 207Pb. After 704 million years, 238U becomes 206Pb. By measuring the amount of 235U and 207Pb in rocks, we can easily determine the amount of years that rock has been there.
Uranium dating is one of the ways of determining the age of ancient objects, even one million years old, by measuring how much of the following are present in them: the amount of radioactive isotopes of uranium, and the amount of other materials into which the radioactive isotopes would decompose. These measurements, when combined with knowledge about the initial state of matter under and the rate at which radioactivity takes place, would yield the age of the object.
WHAT IS ZIRCON?
Zircon is a mineral, often found in igneous rocks, that likes uranium and hates lead. By discovering how many zircon is in a rock, it is easier to determine how much uranium and lead is in that rock.
WHY IS URANIUM USED FOR DATING ROCK?
Uranium 238 is used for dating rocks because it has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years. This means that pure uranium-238 with no lead in it, 4.5 billion years later one-half of it would have decayed into its stable daughter product.
THE URANIUM238 DECAY SERIES
Zircon in rocks