Dating rocks and fossils and geologic events
Each team is given a piece of paper marked TIME, on which is written either 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 minutes. Younger sedimentary rocks are deposited on top of older sedimentary rocks. Each of these unstable isotopes has its own characteristic half life. Is it the single group's results, or is it the line based on the class average? They should write the ages of the pegmatite and granite beside the names of the rocks in the list below the block diagram Figure 1. This uses radioactive minerals that occur in rocks and fossils almost like a geological clock.
Each team is given a piece of paper marked TIME, on which is written either 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 minutes. Any geologic feature is younger than anything else that it cuts across. Then, count the number of pieces of candy left with the M facing down. These isotopes break down at a constant rate over time through radioactive decay. That is, each team should stop according to their TIME paper at the end of the first timed interval 2 minutes , or at the end of the second timed interval 4 minutes , and so on. Relative Dating The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques. That is especially helpful for ratios of parent isotope to daughter isotope that represent less than one half life. The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about million years old. Absolute Dating Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a rock or fossil through radiometric dating methods. Some half lives are several billion years long, and others are as short as a ten-thousandth of a second. AND, on the same graph, each group should plot points where, after each "shake" the starting number is divided by exactly two and connect these points by a differently colored line. These are the parent isotope that did not change during the first half life. Carbon, the radioactive isotope of carbon used in carbon dating has a half-life of years, so it decays too fast. We define the rate of this radioactive decay in half-lives. U is the parent isotope of Pb, which is the daughter isotope. That chance of decay is very small, but it is always present and it never changes. While people are most familiar with carbon dating, carbon dating is rarely applicable to fossils. During that time each team turns over half of the U pieces so that they now show Pb Any Triceratops found below the volcanic ash may be a little older than 70 million years, and any found above may be a little younger than 70 million years. This uses radioactive minerals that occur in rocks and fossils almost like a geological clock. In other words, the nuclei do not "wear out" or get "tired". So, how do we know how old a fossil is? The slate itself cannot be radiometrically dated, so can only be bracketed between the ages of the granite and the pegmatite. On a piece of notebook paper, each piece should be placed with the printed M facing down. The atoms in some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes. Using the same reasoning about proportions as in Part 2b above, students can determine how old the pegmatite and the granite are.
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