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A short but clear explanation about radioactive isotopes commonly used for determining ages of rocks (with graphics) and putting numbers on the geologic time scale, extending it back before the occurance of abundant index fossils.This is a relatively new method intended to to improve the precision of uranium and thorium istopy methods.Using these key or index fossils as markers, Smith could identify a particular layer of rock wherever it was exposed.Because fossils actually record the slow but progressive development of life, scientists use them to identify rocks of the same age throughout the world.
Be sure to see An Animated Isochron Diagram, or, Watching a Rock Age on an Isochron Diagram. Radiometric Dating from The Evolution Evidence Page.This is made up of numerous regional tree-ring chronologies, particularly in the medieval and post-medieval periods, for which the laboratory now has more than 200 reference chronologies from many areas. By comparing the proportion of K-40 to Ar-40 in a sample of volcanic rock, and knowing the decay rate of K-40, the date that the rock formed can be determined.There are over 130 radiocarbon dating laboratories around the world producing radiocarbon assays for the scientific community. A series of movie clips walks you through the process.Trees from the same species, growing in the same area or environment will be exposed to the same conditions, and hence their growth rings will match at the point where their lifecycles overlap.Earth's oldest living inhabitant "Methuselah" at 4,767 years, has lived more than a millennium longer than any other tree.
See more information about "Strata" Smith and his original geologic map of England.