Relative dating diagram

There is no particular reason to suspect that this will turn out to be the case when it comes to the laws underlying absolute dating; nonetheless, an argument from principle alone can never be entirely convincing. You will recall from our discussion of sea floor spreading that the sea floor spreads out from mid-ocean rifts, and so ought to be younger nearer the rifts and progressively older further away from them.

What is more, we can measure the rate of spreading directly by GPS, SLR, and VLBI.

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Relative dating diagram Kostenloser eroltic chat

It is hard to think that this is a coincidence; it is also hard to think of any mechanism that could produce this agreement other than that the rocks are as old as radiometric methods tell us.

We began our discussion of absolute dating by saying that sedimentation rates could not be relied on for absolute dating.

If there is one possible exception to this, it would be the deposition of marine sediment, since it is not subject to erosion, and since we would expect the rates of deposition of the various sediments to be, if not actually constant, then not subject to such a degree of variation as (for example) glacial till.

Based on the known rates of deposition, we may therefore at least say that the depths of marine sediment found on the sea floor are consistent with the ages of the igneous rocks beneath them as produced by radiometric dating.

The polarity of the Earth's magnetic field is a global phenomenon: at any given time it will either be normal everywhere or reversed everywhere.

So if our methods of radiometric dating are correct, then we would predict that rocks dated to the same age would have the same polarity, which they do.

If this does not completely prove that radiometric dating is correct, it does at least show that (barring a wildly improbable coincidence) there is at least a one-to-one relationship between the dates produced by radiometric methods and the true dates, and so it must be taken as an argument in favor of these methods.

One argument in favor of the absolute dating methods presented in the preceding articles is that they should work in principle.

If they don't, then it's not just a question of geologists being wrong about geology, but of physicists being wrong about physics and chemists being wrong about chemistry; if the geologists are wrong, entire laws of nature will have to be rewritten.

Science, since it concerns just one universe with one set of laws, constitutes a seamless whole; we cannot unpick the single thread of absolute dating without the whole thing beginning to unravel.

Still, it has happened in the past that scientists have thought they'd got hold of a law of nature and then found out it was false.

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