What is fission track dating

Fission-track dating involves counting the damage tracks left fragments of the spontaneous fission Uranium-238.The spontaneous fission of Uranium-238 has a known rate, as such the number of tracks is theoretically related to the age of the sample.If accelerated decay did occur then fission-track dating; like all other all radiometric dating methods; is hopelessly in error.The fission track (FT) method is a single crystal technique and has several advantages in comparison to other dating methods: (1) any loss of daughter products due to increase of temperature can be detected through track-length measurements and (2) the low temperature range covered by the FT method (~300 – 60°C) is out of detection of most other radiometric dating systems.

Another source of possible error for fission-track dating is the possibility that tracks could be made by isotopes with higher spontaneous fission rates than Uranium-238.

The submicroscopic tracks accumulate over time and are revealed by chemical etching of polished internal surfaces of the crystal (Price and Walker, 1962).

For the fission-track system of apatite a transition zone where tracks are essentially unstable is recognized.

The EDM emerged as the dominant method because it offers significant advantages over the other approaches.

First, the EDM was recognised as the first geochronological method capable of routinely producing single grain age estimates, leading to the development of detrital geochronology.

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