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Several hundred laboratories around the world are active in radiometric dating.Their results consistently agree with an old Earth.If two or more radiometric clocks based on different elements and running at different rates give the same age, that's powerful evidence that the ages are probably correct.Along this line, Roger Wiens, a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, asks those who are skeptical of radiometric dating to consider the following (quoted in several cases from [Wiens2002]): All of the different dating methods agree--they agree a great majority of the time over millions of years of time.The isochron techniques are partly based on this principle.The use of different dating methods on the same rock is an excellent way to check the accuracy of age results.Radioactive decay rates have been measured for over sixty years now for many of the decay clocks without any observed changes.And it has been close to a hundred years since the uranium-238 decay rate was first determined.
In the particular case that Morris highlighted, the lava flow was unusual because it included numerous xenoliths (typically consisting of olivine, an iron-magnesium silicate material) that are foreign to the lava, having been carried from deep within the earth but not completely melted in the lava.
The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples.
Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data (after certain preliminary calculations are made) are fitted to a straight line (an "isochron") by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.
In a related article on geologic ages (Ages), we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages.
In a separate article (Radiometric dating), we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques.