Description

part 1: The Geologic Strata and Relative Age Dating assignment is here:

Geologic Strata exercise.pdf

Print out these papers and answer the questions manually, then scan them as one pdf and submit to Canvas here.


Coaching Points

I like to view these as puzzles. You are given a particular geologic cross-section and you need to determine the series of events that arranged the rocks into the way they are now. It is important to use all the tools in your tool chest – that is the various principles (or laws) of geology such as the principle of cross-cutting relationships.

When doing these two cross-sections remember to not only get the geologic units in the right order but to do the other parts related to how they got that way.

Part 2

In this exercise, you will do a simulation of the random decay of radioactive elements and calculate the half-life.

If you are not in the lecture class and need a refresher on radiometric dating here is a short excerpt from the textbook

textbook intro to radiometric dating.pdf

There is also a very helpful YouTube video that demonstrates what we are doing and gives a bit more background to the science

Half-Life and Radioactive Decay

With that introduction, here is the Lab Assignment

Radioactive Decay Lab.pdf

And if you need graph paper, you can use the file from Week 1

3 graph paper.docx

And some supplementary reading if you are interested in a Christian Perspective on the topic:

Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective, by Roger Weins, PhD


Coaching Points

This exercise should be fairly straightforward. Follow the steps in the exercise and it is very close to the way it is done in the video.

It is important that as you collect the data that for each step you record the total number of parents and the total number of daughters – not the number of new daughters. Determine from the data (not the theory) the experimental half-life. And do it for several half-lives. That is, when was the first half-life reached at half the parents, when the second half-life at a quarter of the parents, and so on. You should be able to get four of them and then average them together to get your experimental result.

With that experimental half-life then you need to rearrange the equation in step 5 so solve for lambda, the decay constant.

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