In a paper published this week in Science, geochemist Roland Mundil of the Berkeley Geochronology Center (BGC) and his colleagues at BGC and UC Berkeley report that uranium/lead (U/Pb) dating can be extremely accurate - to within 250,000 years - but only if the zircons from volcanic ash used in the analysis are
How is uranium lead dating?
Uranium–Lead dating is the geological age-determination method that uses the radioactive decay of uranium (U) isotopes (238U, 235U, and also in this entry 232Th) into stable isotopes of lead (Pb) (206Pb, 207Pb, and 208Pb, respectively).
Does uranium degrade into lead?
Three stable lead nuclides are the end products of radioactive decay in the three natural decay series: uranium (decays to lead-206), thorium (decays to lead-208), and actinium (decays to lead-207).
Is uranium used in dating?
As its name suggests, uranium-series dating uses the radioactive decay of uranium to calculate an age. When uranium decays, it goes through a series of decays until it eventually reaches a stable isotope. So, for example, uranium 238 will decay to uranium 234, which will decay to thorium 230.
Why is uranium better for radioactive dating of old things than carbon 14?
In other instances, why might Uranium–238 be more useful than Carbon-14? Answer: Because the range of Carbon-14 is less spread out than Uranium-238, Carbon-14 might be more useful for younger fossils. Uranium-14 might be more useful for older fossils.