Why is radiometric dating important
By dating the rocks in the ever-changing crust, as well as neighbors such as the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.54 billion years old, with an error range of 50 million years.Several attempts to scientifically date the planet have occurred over the past 400 years.These tiny zirconium silicate crystals have ages that reach 4.3 billion years, making them the oldest materials found on Earth so far. The rocks and zircons set a lower limit on the age of Earth of 4.3 billion years, because the planet itself must be older than anything that lies on its surface.
In 1953, Clair Cameron Patterson measured ratios of lead isotopes in samples that put tight constraints on Earth's age.
The Canyon Diablo meteorite is important because it represents a class of meteorites with components that allow for more precise dating.
Samples of the meteorite show a spread from 4.53 to 4.58 billion years.
In the early 20th century, scientists refined the process of radiometric dating.
Earlier research had shown that isotopes of some radioactive elements decay into other elements at rates that can be easily predicted.
Samples in Western Australia run 3.4 to 3.6 billion years old.