Thus, if we start out with 1 gram of the parent isotope, after the passage of 1 half-life there will be 0.5 gram of the parent isotope left.After the passage of two half-lives only 0.25 gram will remain, and after 3 half lives only 0.125 will remain etc.
The only problem is that we only know the number of daughter atoms now present, and some of those may have been present prior to the start of our clock. The reason for this is that Rb has become distributed unequally through the Earth over time.
We can see how do deal with this if we take a particular case. For example the amount of Rb in mantle rocks is generally low, i.e. The mantle thus has a low If these two independent dates are the same, we say they are concordant.
If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.
Contrary to creationist claims, it is possible to make that determination, as the following will explain: By way of background, all atoms of a given element have the same number of protons in the nucleus; however, the number of neutrons in the nucleus can vary.
Dissolved strontium in the oceans today has a value of 0.709 that is dependent on the relative input from the continents and the ridges.
In the geologic past, changes in the activity of these two sources produced varying Sr ratios over time.
In contrast, Earth’s most abundant lava rocks, which represent the mantle and make up the major oceanic ridges, have values between 0.703 and 0.705.
This difference may appear small, but, considering that modern instruments can make the determination to a few parts in 70,000, it is quite significant.
To see how we actually use this information to date rocks, consider the following: Usually, we know the amount, N, of an isotope present today, and the amount of a daughter element produced by decay, D*.