Radiometric dating of moon rocks

29-Nov-2015 02:19 by 4 Comments

Radiometric dating of moon rocks

One way to think about the closed system of the crystal is to compare it to an hourglass.

radiometric dating of moon rocks-64

Some radioactive parent isotopes decay almost instantaneously into their stable daughter isotopes; others take billions of years.If, however, the rock is subjected to intense heat or pressure, some of the parent or daughter isotopes may be driven off.Therefore, scientists perform radiometric dating only on rocks or minerals that have remained closed systems.One line of evidence involves rocks from outside the Earth--meteorites and moon rocks.Radiometric dating shows that almost all meteorites are between 4.5 and 4.7 billion years old.Radiometric dating works best on igneous rocks, which are formed from the cooling of molten rock, or magma.

As magma cools, radioactive parent isotopes are separated from previously formed daughter isotopes by the crystallization process.

Therefore, their ages indicate when they were formed.

Because all parts of the solar system are thought to have formed at the same time (based on the solar nebula theory), the Earth must be the same age as the moon and meteorites--that is, about 4.6 billion years old.

The oldest rocks and soils from the moon are about the same age--4.6 billion years old.

Scientists assume that meteorites and moon rocks were not subjected to the extensive alteration that Earth rocks have undergone.

The discovery gave scientists a tool for dating rocks that contain radioactive elements.

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