Geochronology dating techniques Chataduit strams
There is a wide variety of materials which can be analysed and Australian researchers continue to be at the forefront of developing instruments and methods for geochronology.
The basis of radiometric geochronology is that a radioactive parent element, such as uranium, is incorporated as trace amounts into a mineral when it forms in the Earth’s crust.
Over time that parent element will decay to a stable daughter element, such as lead, which ideally will be locked inside the mineral.
By measuring the amount of the parent and daughter elements in a sample and applying the known rate of decay for that radioactive parent, the age at which the mineral formed can be calculated.
On a more detailed level, geochronology can help focus exploration strategies by: Directly dating mineralisation can be difficult because the nature of the mineralising event itself can disrupt how parent and daughter elements are retained in minerals, making subsequent analysis unreliable.
A growing number of specialist techniques can be applied in certain situations, but most geochronology remains focused on supporting our basic understanding of geological history.
Geoscience Australia provides high quality age information to support research objectives in regional and specific interest projects.
Collaborative projects operate with the states and Northern Territory Geological Surveys, universities and the CSIRO.
Often, the most basic knowledge required for resource exploration is the age of rocks in a given area, regardless of whether the resource is mineral, petroleum or geothermal.
The rock ages provide information about how the rocks are related and what geological events of which they may have been part.
Geochronology is a discipline of geoscience which measures the age of earth materials and provides the temporal framework in which other geoscience data can be interpreted in the context of Earth history.Much of the geochronology work at Geoscience Australia supports basic geological mapping and developing our understanding of the geological history of the continent over millions and billions of years.