Dating uranium 235

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It is usually found in the form of tiny grains, making up usually less than 10% of a given sample, spread out through the rock.Separating out the zircons is, therefore, a very meticulous process.The graph will show not only the age of the rocks but also when important geological events occurred in the past.So how do scientists get the zircon and figure out its age? Geologists go out looking for certain types of rock that they know to be older than others.

Uranium decay traps lead atoms in the crystal; these atoms get more concentrated over time.The zircons are studied with an electron microprobe; they hit the zircons with an electron beam to see the cathodoluminescent light that results after it.All of the atoms in the sample give off X-rays with different wavelengths after being hit with the electron beam, according to their atomic makeup. Scientists use this method to date rocks that formed from between 1 million to 4.5 billion years ago, and they estimate the Earth is 4.543 billion years old. The oldest and most reliable method they use is called Uranium-lead (U-Pb) dating.

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