Radioactive Decay and Geochronology
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: May 3, 2006
- To convey concepts necessary in modeling a system involving exponential growth and decay
- To introduce elementary differential equations
- To convey the difference between closed and open systems
- To introduce if-then-else logical statements
- To convey the importance of secular equilibrium, which allows complex isotopic decay systems to be modeled without taking into consideration radioactive daughters.
- To explore concordia-discordia diagrams and how a rock containing two isotopic systems can yield both the age of original crystallization and the time of a later metamorphic event.
Context for Use
Teaching Notes and Tips
Documented_Isotope_Model.stm ( 25kB Jun13 05)
Documented_UPb_Model.v.1.STM ( 589kB Jun13 05)
Documented_UPb_Model.v.2.stm ( 705kB Jun13 05)
PBLOSS.F90 ( 4kB Jun13 05)
U_series.f90 ( 4kB Jun13 05)
fortran_radioactive_decay.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 8kB Jun13 05)
assignment_assessment_2.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 5kB Jun13 05)
References and Resources
- Dalrymple, G.B., 1991, The Age of the Earth, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, p. 79-90, 99-102, 115-119, and 122-124.
- Faure, G., 1986, Principles of Isotope Geology, 2nd Edition, New York: John Wiley and Sons, p. 38-45 and p. 283-296.
Contact the Author
Controlled Vocabulary Terms
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity, Computer Applications
Special Interest: Quantitative, Data, models, or simulations:Data, Computer-Based, Data, models, or simulations:Models
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Quantitative Skills: Models and Modeling
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Topics: Time/Earth History, Solid Earth:Geochemistry:Radioisotopes
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geochemistry