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28-Jan-2018 18:53

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It is based on the fact that some of the radioactive isotope of Potassium, Potassium-40 (K-40) ,decays to the gas Argon as Argon-40 (Ar-40).

By comparing the proportion of K-40 to Ar-40 in a sample of volcanic rock, and knowing the decay rate of K-40, the date that the rock formed can be determined.

This radioactive carbon 14 slowly decays back into normal, stable nitrogen.

Extensive laboratory testing has shown that about half of the C-14 molecules will decay in 5730 years. After another 5730 years half of the remaining C-14 will decay leaving only ¼ of the original C-14. In theory it would never totally disappear, but after about 5 half lives the difference is not measurable with any degree of accuracy.

This is why most people say carbon dating is only good for objects less than 40,000 years old.

Nothing on earth carbon dates in the millions of years, because the scope of carbon dating only extends a few thousand years.

The key is to measure an isotope that has had time to decay a measurable amount, but not so much as to only leave a trace remaining.

Given isotopes are useful for dating over a range from a fraction of their half life to about four or five times their half life.

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Presently, nature appears to be more steady, more firm and more refractory [resistant] to changes than we thoughtbefore we had made a clear distinction between hereditary variability [within species] and acquired characteristics [DNA characteristics fixing each species]. Salet, Hasard et Certitude: Le Transformisme devant la Biologie Actuelle (1973), p. Several methods for dating ancient materials have been developed."In a billion years [from now], it seems, intelligent life might be as different from humans as humans are from insects . To change from a human being to a cloud may seem a big order, but it's the kind of change you'd expect over billions of years." Freeman Dyson, Statement made in 1986, quoted in Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations, p. [American mathematician.]"Slowness has really nothing to do with the question.



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