Radiometric dating does not measure the age of an individual


Question Description:

6.99

Radiometric dating does not measure the age of an individual atom. It is a measure of the age of a quantity of atoms—a statistic. As with any statistical measure, its values may deviate around an average (see sampling error, Section 1.8). Imagine that one sample of rock is dated ten different ways. Nine of the tests yield an age close to 225,000 years. One test yields an age of 3.2 million years. Do the nine consistent results imply that the one that deviates is incorrect, or does the one odd result invalidate the nine that are consistent?

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6.99