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PART 1: Back to Basics PART 2: Problems with the Assumptions PART 3: Making Sense of the Patterns This three-part series will help you properly understand radiometric dating, the assumptions that lead to inaccurate dates, and the clues about what really happened in the past.

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Gregory Brennecka of Arizona State University and colleagues measured the relative amounts of Uranium 238 to Uranium 235 from several samples taken from the large Allende meteorite, named for the village in Mexico near where it landed in 1969.

With the more sensitive instrument, they detected small differences in isotope ratios from different inclusions within the same meteorite..

Part 2 explains how scientists run into problems when they make assumptions about what happened .

An hourglass is a helpful analogy to explain how geologists calculate the ages of rocks.

: Suppose there is a set of variables whose individual values are probably different, and may be anything larger than zero. If there is a group of radioisotopes whose eventual decay is not predictable on the individual level, I do not understand how a decay constant is measurable.

This question is asked with the intention of understanding basically the decay constant of radiometric dating (although I know the above is not an entirely accurate representation).

Physicist: The predictability of large numbers of random events is called the “law of large numbers“.

It causes the margin of error to be essentially zero when the number of random things becomes very large.

This assumption is backed by numerous scientific studies and is relatively sound.

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