# Ten most important dating questions

The wonderful property of isochron methods is: if one of these requirements is violated, it is nearly certain that the data will indicate the problem by failure to plot on a line.

(This topic will be discussed in much more detail below.) Where the simple methods will produce an incorrect age, isochron methods will generally indicate the unsuitability of the object for dating.

Isochron methods avoid the problems which can potentially result from both of the above assumptions.

A routine statistical operation on the set of data yields both a slope of the best-fit line (an age) and a variance in the slope (an uncertainty in the age).Unfortunately, one must wade through some hefty math in order to understand the procedures used to fit isochron lines to data.General comments on "dating assumptions" All radiometric dating methods require, in order to produce accurate ages, certain initial conditions and lack of contamination over time.It is not easily explained, in the general case, in any other way.The data points would be expected to start out on a line if certain initial conditions were met.Whether there's a data point on the Y-axis or not, the Y-intercept of the line doesn't change as the slope of the isochron line does (as shown in Figure 5).Therefore, the Y-intercept of the isochron line gives the initial global ratio of could be subtracted out of each sample, and it would then be possible to derive a simple age (by the equation introduced in the first section of this document) for each sample.The better the fit of the data to the line, the lower the uncertainty.For further information on fitting of lines to data (also known as regression analysis), see: Note that the methods used by isotope geologists (as described by York) are much more complicated than those described by Gonick.(Rocks which include several different minerals are excellent for this.) Each group of measurements is plotted as a data point on a graph.The X-axis of the graph is the ratio of in a closed system over time.