# Researcher uses carbon dating

The better the fit of the data to the line, the lower the uncertainty.For further information on fitting of lines to data (also known as regression analysis), see: Note that the methods used by isotope geologists (as described by York) are much more complicated than those described by Gonick.Each such age would match the result given by the isochron.Gain or loss of In order to make the figures easy to read (and quick to draw), the examples in this paper include few data points.There are minor differences between isotopes of the same element, and in relatively rare circumstances it is possible to obtain some amount of differentiation between them. The effect is almost always a very small departure from homogeneous distribution of the isotopes -- perhaps enough to introduce an error of 0.002 half-lives in a non-isochron age. but it is rare and the effect is not large enough to account for extremely old ages on supposedly young formations.) as minerals form.This results in a range of X-values for the data points representing individual minerals.(For brevity's sake, hereafter I will refer to the parent isotope as ).In addition, it requires that these measurements be taken from several different objects which all formed at the same time from a common pool of materials.

Its composition would be represented as a single point on the isochron plot: Note that the above is somewhat simplified.Now that the mechanics of plotting an isochron have been described, we will discuss the potential problems of the "simple" dating method with respect to isochron methods.The amount of initial wouldn't change over time -- because it would have no parent atoms to produce daughter atoms.Age "uncertainty" When a "simple" dating method is performed, the result is a single number.There is no good way to tell how close the computed result is likely to be to the actual age.

Isochron methods avoid the problems which can potentially result from both of the above assumptions.