Numerical absolute geologic age dating

If the nucleus has not yet decayed, there is always that same, slight chance that it will change in the near future.

Atomic nuclei are held together by an attraction between the large nuclear particles (protons and neutrons) that is known as the "strong nuclear force", which must exceed the electrostatic repulsion between the protons within the nucleus.

The teacher should tell the students that there are two basic principles used by geologists to determine the sequence of ages of rocks.

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2) To familiarize students with the concept of half-life in radioactive decay.

3) To have students see that individual runs of statistical processes are less predictable than the average of many runs (or that runs with relatively small numbers involved are less dependable than runs with many numbers).

Where the amounts of parent and daughter isotopes can be accurately measured, the ratio can be used to determine how old the rock is, as shown in the following activities.

Part 2a Activity — At any moment there is a small chance that each of the nuclei of U-235 will suddenly decay.

U-235 is the parent isotope of Pb-207, which is the daughter isotope.

Many rocks contain small amounts of unstable isotopes and the daughter isotopes into which they decay.

Return to top Each team of 3 to 5 students should discuss together how to determine the relative age of each of the rock units in the block diagram (Figure 1).

After students have decided how to establish the relative age of each rock unit, they should list them under the block, from most recent at the top of the list to oldest at the bottom.

For example, U-235 is an unstable isotope of uranium that has 92 protons and 143 neutrons in the nucl eus of each atom.

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