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Assumptions of radiometric dating

Therefore, in virtually every case, scientists do not know what the original condition of the rock was; and, even if they did know, they don't any more due to heat contamination, mixing, and leaching. Snelling in an article on this topic Note: As for the few cases where scientists do know what the "original" condition (or date of eruption) was, they still have not been able to come up with the correct "date" for the age of the rock without all sorts of fancy footwork and massaging of data.

The second assumption is much more speculative since there is no way to verify whether or not some (or most) of the daughter element was already present when the rock solidified. However, in some cases, a few scientists are telling us that they have solved this problem.

For example, with the uranium/lead method scientists have attempted to estimate what the original ratio (of uranium-238 to lead-206) was when the Earth formed.

With the exception of Carbon-14, radiometric dating is used to date either igneous or metamorphic rocks that contain radioactive elements such as uranium. Now when the uranium or thorium disintegrates, the alpha particles which are emitted are slowed down by the crystals in which the grains of the uranium- or thorium-bearing minerals are embedded.

And even though various radioactive elements have been used to "date" these rocks, for the most part, the methods are basically the same. This means that if you had some pure uranium-238 with no lead in it, 4.5 billion years later one half of it would have decayed into its stable daughter product (lead-206). Where these alpha particles finally stop, crystal deformation occurs (and) shows up as a discolouration or a darkening of the crystals.

Another problem that calls into question the credibility of radiometric dating is heat contamination.

For example, In 1973, in Alberta, Canada (near the town of Grand Prairie) a high voltage line fell which caused nearby tree roots to fossilize almost instantly.

This is because "common" lead contains both radiogenic (lead 206, 207 and 208) and non-radiogenic lead (204) but it does not contain any uranium.

In fact, about 98% of common lead is "radiogenic" (containing lead 206, 207, 208) and only 2% non-radiogenic.

The third assumption is that the sample has remained in a closed system.

This is necessary due to outside influences such as heat and groundwater that can seriously alter the original material.

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