Carbon radiometric dating

Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades.

The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples.

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The discovery of means for absolute dating in the early 1900s was a huge advance.

The methods are all based on radioactive decay: The first radiometric dates, generated about 1920, showed that the Earth was hundreds of millions, or billions, of years old.

Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates.

Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, but younger dates are stable.

For example, it has been known since the 1960s that the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the line marking the end of the dinosaurs, was 65 million years old.

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