Define radiometric age dating

This document is partly based on a prior posting composed in reply to Ted Holden.

My thanks to both him and other critics for motivating me.

The simplest situation for a geologist is a "layer cake" succession of sedimentary or extrusive igneous rock units arranged in nearly horizontal layers.

In such a situation, the "principle of superposition" is easily applied, and the strata towards the bottom are older, those towards the top are younger.

his document discusses the way radiometric dating and stratigraphic principles are used to establish the conventional geological time scale.

It is not about the theory behind radiometric dating methods, it is about their , and it therefore assumes the reader has some familiarity with the technique already (refer to "Other Sources" for more information).

They are the "initial working hypotheses" to be tested further by data.

Fundamental to stratigraphy are a set of simple principles, based on elementary geometry, empirical observation of the way these rocks are deposited today, and gravity.

As an example of how they are used, radiometric dates from geologically simple, fossiliferous Cretaceous rocks in western North America are compared to the geological time scale.

To get to that point, there is also a historical discussion and description of non-radiometric dating methods.

These are often characterised as the norm, rather than the exception.

I thought it would be useful to present an example where the geology is simple, and unsurprisingly, the method does work well, to show the quality of data that would have to be invalidated before a major revision of the geologic time scale could be accepted by conventional scientists.

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