What is absolute age?

Answer

Absolute age is the age of a geologic formation in years. Unlike relative age, which determines whether a formation is older or younger than its surrounding formations, absolute age provides geologists with the actual age of a formation.

The absolute age is determined by a number of dating techniques:

  • Radiometric dating examines the radioactive isotopes in an object, which decay at a constant rate. By examining them, geologists can calculate its age.
  • Luminescence dating establishes an object's age by determining when it was last heated. When objects absorb radiation, the radiation frees electrons within it. These electrons become trapped, but can be released and measured to determine the object's age.
  • Amino acid dating is used to calculate the age of organic compounds. Amino acids alter at a steady rate after organisms die. Scientists measuring the ratio of healthy amino acids to decayed acids, can determine its age.
Q&A Related to "What is absolute age?"
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Explore this Topic
Relative age allows scientists to know whether something is older or younger than something else, while absolute age means that scientists know the exact number ...
One of the few similarities of relative and absolute dating is that they are both used as methods to discovering the age of an object. When you use them together ...
Radioactive dating uses the decay rates of radioactive substances to measure absolute ages of rocks, minerals and carbon-based substances, according to How Stuff ...
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