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Argon/argon dating works using only the ratio of the concentration of the argon isotopes. For the purposes of this debate, "accurate" means that 95% of the dating errors are within 10% of the measured date, within the time span for which the isotope pair is utilized.

Since carbon dating depends upon variable cosmic ray intensity, a calibration curve is assumed to be applied to account for that.

There are about two dozen decay pairs used for dating.

Uranium 235 decay to lead has a half-life of 713 million years, so it is well suited to dating the universe.

“They say, ‘How could CO2 levels affect global temperature when you are telling me the temperature changed first?

’” Frédéric Parrenin of the Laboratory of Glaciology and Geophysical Environment in France and a team of researchers may have found an answer to the question.

Other methods do not require knowing the initial quantities.

For example, potassium decays into two different isotopes of argon having different half-lives.

Measuring the ratio of C14 to C12 and C13 therefore dates the organic matter for periods back to about eight half-lives of the isotope, 45,000 years.

After a long enough time the minority isotope is in an amount too small to be measured.

The researchers then compared results from multiple locations to reduce the margin of error.

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