Isotopicage_Lecture7 - The hourglass geologic clock is...

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Unformatted text preview: The hourglass geologic clock is based upon the transfer of matter (or energy) from one reservoir to another. If we observe how much each reservoir currently contains, and know the rate of transfer, we may calculate when the transfer process began. A heavy atomic nucleus with protons (colored) and neutrons (white) Radioactivity is the property of certain isotopes 1 by which they are unstable as such, and spontaneously transform into other isotopes. 1 A chemical element is defined by the number of protons in the nucleus. By definition, hydrogen has 1 proton, helium has 2 protons, and so on through the periodic table of the elements. An isotope of an element is a nucleus with specified numbers of both protons and associated neutrons. For example, a nucleus of the element lead (Pb) by definition contains 82 protons. A nucleus of the isotope 206 Pb (pronounced lead-206) contains 82 protons and 124 neutrons, for a total of 206 nuclear particles. Properties of radioactive decay:...
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This note was uploaded on 10/02/2008 for the course GEO 303 taught by Professor Leon during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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Isotopicage_Lecture7 - The hourglass geologic clock is...

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