Thorium uranium dating

As corals grow, they incorporate significant seawater uranium and virtually no thorium into their skeletons.Uranium-Thorium dating is a way of determining the age of a rock by the amount of radioactive Thorium it contains.This method can be used to determine the age of calcium carbonate materials, such as coral.Scientists can measure the amount of Thorium-230 in a sample of rock, if the rock contained Uranium originally.

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However, in the case of engravings and red paintings, only indirect methods can be used that allow us to date deposits that have covered the works over time (TL, U/Th, oxalates, etc.).In thin layers of carbonate deposits and in damp media, the uranium incorporated into the calcite during its crystallization may be partially eliminated because of its solubility in water.Uranium leaching causes an artificial increase of the age that may reach considerable proportions (e.g.a negative hand in a cave in Borneo was dated to 27,000 years by U/Th whereas its C age was only 8–10,000 cal BP; Plagnes et al., 2003).Due to these two contradictory sources of error, the dates given by the U/Th method may prove to be younger or older, with deviations that are much larger than the standard deviations given by laboratories.

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