Radioactive decay has become one of the most useful methods for determining the age of formation of rocks.
However, in the very principal of radiometric dating there are several vital assumptions that have to be made in order for the age to be considered valid.
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The only problem is that we only know the number of daughter atoms now present, and some of those may have been present prior to the start of our clock. The reason for this is that Rb has become distributed unequally through the Earth over time.
We can see how do deal with this if we take a particular case. For example the amount of Rb in mantle rocks is generally low, i.e. The mantle thus has a low If these two independent dates are the same, we say they are concordant.
Note that the mere existence of these assumptions do not render the simpler dating methods entirely useless.
In many cases, there are independent cues (such as geologic setting or the chemistry of the specimen) which can suggest that such assumptions are entirely reasonable.
This technique can be applied if the daughter element has at least one stable isotope other than the daughter isotope into which the parent nuclide decays.