One of the greatest contributions of geochemistry to man's knowledge of the Earth and solar system has been the development and application of chemical and isotopic techniques used to measure the passage of time. Rates of geologic processes, rates of biological evolution, and contemporaneity of past events all depend on accurate ages of geologic materials. Many geochemical methods have been used to determine ages of rocks and minerals; the ages determined may record the time of mineral crystallization or recrystallization, the time of last heating beyond a given temperature (see Geothermometers), or the time elapsed since exposure on the surface. The basic requirement for a chemical or isotopic geochronometer is some measurable parameter that changes as a function of time. Furthermore, for accurate ages to be determined, the parameter must have a known (and invariant) relationship with age or must be able to be calibrated.
|Authors||Brian D. Marshall|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center|