Radioactive dating game lab answer key
When it is stated that these methods are accurate to one or two percent, it does not mean that the computed age is within one or two percent of the correct age.It just means that there is enough accuracy in the measurements to compute t to one or two percentage points of accuracy, where t is the time required to obtain the observed ratio of daughter to parent, assuming no initial daughter product was present at the beginning, and no daughter or parent entered or left the system.
The original element is called the parent, and the result of the decay process is called the daughter element.
For potassium 40, the half-life is about 1.3 billion years.
In general, in one half-life, half of the parent will have decayed.
Since Cambrian and later rocks are largely sedimentary and igneous (volcanic) rocks are found in Cambrian and later strata, if these rocks are really 550 million years old, then life must also be at least 550 million years old.
Therefore, my main concern is with rocks of the Cambrian periods and later.
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We can assume that the Precambrian rocks already existed when life began, and so the ages of the Precambrian rocks are not necessarily related to the question of how long life has existed on earth.