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Age dating sedimentary rocks

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Radioactive elements decay at a certain constant rate and this is the basis of radiometric dating. But, the decay elements need to be set, much like you would re-set a stop watch for a runner, to ensure an accurate measurement. When minerals get subducted into the Earth and come back as volcanic magmas or ash, this essential re-sets the radiometric clock back to zero and therefore a reliable age date is possible. Sedimentary rocks may have radioactive elements in them, but they have been re-worked from other rocks, so essentially, there radiometric clock has not been re-set back to zero. However, sedimentary rocks can be age dated if a volcanic ash horizon or a diabase sill or dyke can be found within the sequence. For example, if you find a dinosaur bone in a sedimentary sequence and you find an ash layer 10 meter above the bone and another ash layer 20 meters below it, you can determine the age of the two ash layers.
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Geologic Age Dating Explained

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Radiometric dating

Problems in Dating Sedimentary Rocks Sidebar 3 Stratified sedimentary rocks and their included fossils confront us with important concepts relating to the history of the earth. Are sedimentary rocks and fossils millions of years old? Radioisotope dating of sedimentary rocks might be supposed to provide the answer. However, the radioisotope dates that have been obtained by standard geochronological practice have been recognized to be doubtful because: 1.
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Why is it difficult to date sedimentary rocks using radiometric dating techniques?

Sedimentary rocks are formed from deposits of pre-existing rocks or pieces of once-living organism that accumulate on the Earth's surface. If sediment is buried deeply, it becomes compacted and cemented, forming sedimentary rock. These rocks often have distinctive layering or bedding and create many of the picturesque views of the desert southwest. Sedimentary rocks are classified into three groups: Clastic , Biologic , and Chemical.
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