There are absolute ages and there are relative ages. . With this kind of uncertainty, Felix Gradstein, editor of the Geologic Time Scale. How relative and absolute dating were used to determine the subdivisions of geologic time ppt - Want to meet eligible single woman who share your zest for life?. There are two types of Geologic Dating. Absolute. Determines how many years old something is. Relative. Used to determine if one thing is younger or older.
RELATIVE VS. ABSOLUTE DATING by Terasa Hodson on Prezi
Ernest Rutherford first formulated the law of radioactive decay and was the first person to determine the age of a rock using radioactive decay methods. Atoms of an element having different numbers of neutrons are referred to as the isotopes of that element.
Relative dating. - ppt download
Schematic representation of the isotopes of carbon. Carbon has an atomic number of 6 and an atomic mass number of 12, 13, or 14, depending on the number of neutrons in its nucleus. There are three different decay mechanisms: Three types of radioactive decay.
C14 is an isotope of carbon that forms from Nitrogen in the atmosphere. Living things consume this radioactive carbon.
Once dead, no new carbon is absorbed, and C14 turns back into Nitrogen. The Half-Life of C14 is 5, years. This method works best for fossils younger than 50, years. The clock starts when radioactive atoms that are present in the magma get incorporated in the crystalline structure of certain minerals in the rocks.
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We can then use measure the parent-daughter ratio. There are some uncertainties in the positions of the boundaries of the units. The other way we use craters to age-date surfaces is simply to count the craters. At its simplest, surfaces with more craters have been exposed to space for longer, so are older, than surfaces with fewer craters. Of course the real world is never quite so simple.
FOSSILS, RELATIVE & ABSOLUTE DATING
There are several different ways to destroy smaller craters while preserving larger craters, for example. Despite problems, the method works really, really well. Most often, the events that we are age-dating on planets are related to impacts or volcanism. Volcanoes can spew out large lava deposits that cover up old cratered surfaces, obliterating the cratering record and resetting the crater-age clock. When lava flows overlap, it's not too hard to use the law of superposition to tell which one is older and which one is younger.
If they don't overlap, we can use crater counting to figure out which one is older and which one is younger. In this way we can determine relative ages for things that are far away from each other on a planet. Interleaved impact cratering and volcanic eruption events have been used to establish a relative time scale for the Moon, with names for periods and epochs, just as fossils have been used to establish a relative time scale for Earth.
The chapter draws on five decades of work going right back to the origins of planetary geology. The Moon's history is divided into pre-Nectarian, Nectarian, Imbrian, Eratosthenian, and Copernican periods from oldest to youngest. The oldest couple of chronostratigraphic boundaries are defined according to when two of the Moon's larger impact basins formed: There were many impacts before Nectaris, in the pre-Nectarian period including 30 major impact basinsand there were many more that formed in the Nectarian period, the time between Nectaris and Imbrium.
The Orientale impact happened shortly after the Imbrium impact, and that was pretty much it for major basin-forming impacts on the Moon. I talked about all of these basins in my previous blog post.
Courtesy Paul Spudis The Moon's major impact basins A map of the major lunar impact basins on the nearside left and farside right. There was some volcanism happening during the Nectarian and early Imbrian period, but it really got going after Orientale. Vast quantities of lava erupted onto the Moon's nearside, filling many of the older basins with dark flows. So the Imbrian period is divided into the Early Imbrian epoch -- when Imbrium and Orientale formed -- and the Late Imbrian epoch -- when most mare volcanism happened.
People have done a lot of work on crater counts of mare basalts, establishing a very good relative time sequence for when each eruption happened. The basalt has fewer, smaller craters than the adjacent highlands. Even though it is far away from the nearside basalts, geologists can use crater statistics to determine whether it erupted before, concurrently with, or after nearside maria did.
Absolute vs. Relative Dating - ppt download
Over time, mare volcanism waned, and the Moon entered a period called the Eratosthenian -- but where exactly this happened in the record is a little fuzzy. Tanaka and Hartmann lament that Eratosthenes impact did not have widespread-enough effects to allow global relative age dating -- but neither did any other crater; there are no big impacts to use to date this time period.
Tanaka and Hartmann suggest that the decline in mare volcanism -- and whatever impact crater density is associated with the last gasps of mare volcanism -- would be a better marker than any one impact crater. Most recently, a few late impact craters, including Copernicus, spread bright rays across the lunar nearside. Presumably older impact craters made pretty rays too, but those rays have faded with time.
Rayed craters provide another convenient chronostratigraphic marker and therefore the boundary between the Eratosthenian and Copernican eras. The Copernican period is the most recent one; Copernican-age craters have visible rays. The Eratosthenian period is older than the Copernican; its craters do not have visible rays. Here is a graphic showing the chronostratigraphy for the Moon -- our story for how the Moon changed over geologic time, put in graphic form. Basins and craters dominate the early history of the Moon, followed by mare volcanism and fewer craters.
Red marks individual impact basins. The brown splotch denotes ebbing and flowing of mare volcanism. Can we put absolute ages on this time scale? Well, we can certainly try. The Moon is the one planet other than Earth for which we have rocks that were picked up in known locations.
We also have several lunar meteorites to play with. Most moon rocks are very old. All the Apollo missions brought back samples of rocks that were produced or affected by the Imbrium impact, so we can confidently date the Imbrium impact to about 3.
And we can pretty confidently date mare volcanism for each of the Apollo and Luna landing sites -- that was happening around 3. Not quite as old, but still pretty old. Alan Shepard checks out a boulder Astronaut Alan B. Note the lunar dust clinging to Shepard's space suit. The Apollo 14 mission visited the Fra Mauro formation, thought to be ejecta from the Imbrium impact.
Beyond that, the work to pin numbers on specific events gets much harder. There is an enormous body of science on the age-dating of Apollo samples and Moon-derived asteroids. We have a lot of rock samples and a lot of derived ages, but it's hard to be certain where a particular chunk of rock picked up by an astronaut originated.
The Moon's surface has been so extensively "gardened" over time by smaller impacts that there was no intact bedrock available to the Apollo astronauts to sample. And it's impossible to know where a lunar meteorite originated. So we can get incredibly precise dates on the ages of these rocks, but can't really know for sure what we're dating. Consequently, there is a lot of uncertainty about the ages of even the biggest events in the Moon's history, like the Nectarian impact.
There's some evidence suggesting that it's barely older than Imbrium, which means that there was a period of incredibly intense asteroid impacts -- the Late Heavy Bombardment. There are other people who argue that the rocks we think are from the Nectaris are either actually from Imbrium or were affected by Imbrium, so that we don't actually know when Nectaris happened and consequently can't say for sure whether the Late Heavy Bombardment happened.
Dating lunar asteroids doesn't help; none have been found that are older than 3.
It seems like there's a lot of evidence supporting the idea that it happened, and there's a workable explanation of why it might have happened, but there's a problematic lack of geologic record for the time before it happened. But we do the best we can with what we've got.
Here is the same diagram I showed above, but this time I've squished and stretched parts of it to fit a linear time scale on the right. I drew in a billion years' worth of lines for the boundary between the Eratosthenian and Copernican ages, because we really don't have data that tells us where precisely to draw that line. Look how squished the Moon's history is!
Almost all the cratering happened in the bottom bit of the diagram. The volcanism pretty much ended halfway through the Moon's history. For more than two billion years -- half the diagram -- almost no action. A crater here, a little squirt of volcanism there. But it's really not nearly as neat as the crisp lines on this diagram make it seem.
Most of the events on the list could move up and down the absolute time scale quite a lot as we improve our calibration of the relative time scale. When I write for magazines, my editors always ask me to put absolute numbers on the dates of past events.