Start Radiocarbon dating margin of error

Radiocarbon dating margin of error

Young-Earth creationists -- that is, creationists who believe that Earth is no more than 10,000 years old -- are fond of attacking radiometric dating methods as being full of inaccuracies and riddled with sources of error.

A third, very rare type of radioactive decay is called electron absorption.

After emission, it quickly picks up two electrons to balance the two protons, and becomes an electrically neutral helium-4 (He4) atom. When an atom emits a beta particle, a neutron inside the nucleus is transformed to a proton.

The mass number doesn't change, but the atomic number goes up by 1.

The rules are the same in all cases; the assumptions are different for each method.

To explain those rules, I'll need to talk about some basic atomic physics. Hydrogen-1's nucleus consists of only a single proton.

The decay rate and therefore the half-life are fixed characteristics of a nuclide. Thats the first axiom of radiometric dating techniques: the half-life of a given nuclide is a constant.

(Note that this doesnt mean the half-life of an element is a constant.

Uraniums abbreviation is U, so uranium-238 can be more briefly written as U238.