Best isotope to use when dating very old samples

Also the argon-argon dating technique can be used for the potassium-argon sequence to ensure that no initial half-life of the parent isotope, which can be obtained from tables such as the one given in [1]: Although radiometric dating is accurate in principle, the precision is very dependent on the care with which the procedure is performed.

The possible confounding effects of initial contamination of parent and daughter isotopes have to be considered, as do the effects of any loss or gain of such isotopes since the sample was created.

Finally, correlation between different isotopic dating methods may be required to confirm the age of a sample.

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If a material that selectively rejects the daughter nuclide is heated, any daughter nuclides that have been accumulated over time will be lost through diffusion, setting the isotopic "clock" to zero.

The temperature at which this happens is known as the "blocking temperature" and is specific to a particular material.

When a material incorporates both the parent and daughter nuclides at the time of formation, it may be necessary to assume that the initial proportions of a radioactive substance and its daughter are known.

The daughter product should not be a small-molecule gas that can leak out of the material, and it must itself have a long enough half-life that it will be present in significant amounts.

Mass spectrometers are liable to interferences and inaccuracies.

Primary amongst these is the quality of the vacuum.Various methods exist differing in accuracy, cost and applicable time scale.All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements, each with its own atomic number, indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus.In most cases, the half-life of a nuclide depends solely on its nuclear properties; it is not affected by temperature, chemical environment, magnetic and electric fields, or any other external factors.The half-life of any nuclide is also believed to be constant through time.Precision is enhanced if measurements are taken on different samples taken from the same rock body but at different locations.

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