Dating sediment layers

This method relies on the uptake of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 by all living things.

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Dating the particles which make up the rock wouldn’t give you the age of the rock itself.

In addition, the redeposition process upsets the conditions necessary to achieve accurate results through radiometric dating.

Radioactive decay occurs at a constant rate, specific to each radioactive isotope.

Since the 1950s, geologists have used radioactive elements as natural "clocks" for determining numerical ages of certain types of rocks. "Forms" means the moment an igneous rock solidifies from magma, a sedimentary rock layer is deposited, or a rock heated by metamorphism cools off.

QUESTION: Can we date sedimentary rocks using radiometric dating techniques?

ANSWER: Sedimentary rocks cannot be dated directly using radiometric dating, which is based on the idea that when rocks are in liquid form, their radiometric clock resets.

It's this resetting process that gives us the ability to date rocks that formed at different times in earth history.

A commonly used radiometric dating technique relies on the breakdown of potassium (Ar in an igneous rock can tell us the amount of time that has passed since the rock crystallized.

The main factor controlling varve formation is climate variability; there must be large seasonal differences in both temperature and precipitation.

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