The technique called radiometric dating is based on

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The older a sample is, the less (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to around 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally permit accurate analysis of older samples.The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained.Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old.After all, textbooks, media, and museums glibly present ages of millions of years as fact.Yet this view is based on a misunderstanding of how radiometric dating works.

However, to read any clock accurately we must know where the clock was set at the beginning.

Measuring the uranium-to-lead ratios in the oldest rocks on Earth gave scientists an estimated age of the planet of 4.6 billion years.

Segment from A Science Odyssey: "Origins."Geologists have calculated the age of Earth at 4.6 billion years.

Geologist Ralph Harvey and historian Mott Greene explain the principles of radiometric dating and its application in determining the age of Earth.

As the uranium in rocks decays, it emits subatomic particles and turns into lead at a constant rate.

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