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The simplified application of the decay equation presented above, bases age determinations on measurement of the ratio of parent : daughter isotopes.

The fundamental assumption in this simplified approach is that there existed no daughter atoms at the time the radiometric clock started.

I use the term "appropriate" in the sense that the specimen to be dated must obviously contain isotopes of a well known radioactive decay series, and be suitable for precise chemical analysis.

In the simplest ideal situation,the decay equation is utilized by making the following substitutions: P = N (# of parent atoms currently present as measured inthe lab) Pand can accurately measure D and P, in principle, we can determine the absolute age.

I also encourage you to visit the links within the Berkeley page to learn more about the divisions (Eras, Periods, etc.) of the time scale, their stratigraphy, life forms and other useful bits of information. Students will learn about the principles of Stratigraphy and application of various techniques.Our ability to interpret and understand geologic events has been significantly enhanced by the development of various tools which allow us to determine the absolute age of many rocks and/or minerals.There are several different techniques and approaches possible, but all rely on the principles of radioactive decay of unstable isotopes of elements present in trace quantities in many rocks and minerals.The solution is: The equation above is known as the decay equation.It shows that at any time t, the number of parent atoms, N, is equal to the number of original parent atoms at time zero (N The decay equation shown above constitutes the basis for determining the absolute ages of appropriate rocks and/or minerals.

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