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Fission-track dating

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Fission-track map of a very small uranium-rich particle from stream sediment below a uranium mine. The particle is much smaller than the starburst pattern.

Fission-track dating involves counting the damage tracks left fragments of the spontaneous fission Uranium-238. The spontaneous fission of Uranium-238 has a known rate, as such the number of tracks is theoretically related to the age of the sample. [1]

Because fission-track dating, requires a manual count of the fission-tracks, the process is more prone to human error and bias than other radiometric dating methods. This problem is increased by the fact that there are other types of crystal defects that can easily be counted as fission-tracks.

Contents

The Uranium Problem

The leaching of Uranium from the sample can create an artificially old fission-track date and a heating event will erase tracks producing artificially young fission-track date, thus as with all radiometric dating methods any disagreement between a fission-track date and what is expected can be explained away.

Another source of possible error for fission-track dating is the possibility that tracks could be made by isotopes with higher spontaneous fission rates than Uranium-238. [2] Furthermore neutron bombardment will induce fission in the uranium-235 and all fission reactions produce neutrons, use it is likely that some uranium-235 induce fission tracks are mistaken for Uranium-238.

Conclusion

Finally Like all dating methods it assumes a constant decay rate, how there is evidence that accelerated decay has occurred. If accelerated decay did occur then fission-track dating; like all other all radiometric dating methods; is hopelessly in error.

References

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