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How do geologists find out the age of mountains?


Question asked by: knowitall

There are various ways and techniques that can be used.

With many mountains, the rock in the mountain can be sampled and then a dating technique applied to find the age.

For instance radiometic dating may be used to find the age of the rock. These techniques exploit the half life of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes of elements present in tiny quantities to help work out how old something is.

With some mountains other techniques may be used, for instance at a plate boundary scientists may be able to wind back time to work out when the plates must have collided and formed moutain ranges such as the Himalayas.

By: Unknown
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Comments and other answers:

Re the question "How do geologists find out the age of mountains?" Your answer isn't very helpful, at least to me. You say "With many mountains, the rock in the mountain can be sampled and then a dating technique applied to find the age." You then refer to the radiodating techniques. Since mountains are all made of rock why can't the radiodating technique be used to date any and all mountains? You go on to say "With some mountains other techniques may be used, for instance at a plate boundary scientists may be able to wind back time to ..." But too say scientists "wind back time" is to tell me nothing (since they can't really wind back time). Nice metaphor, but what does it amount to?
By: peter

Date of comment: Fri, Mar 9th 2007

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age  mountains  geologists  

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