The controversy of using radioactive dating
A 1929 edition of boasts, “THE SECRET OF THE SOUTHWEST SOLVED BY TALKATIVE TREE RINGS.” The 35-page article, penned in whimsical prose, was written by Andrew Douglass, the UA scientist who invented tree ring science. In addition to his work as an astronomer at the UA’s Steward Observatory, Douglass was the first to discover that tree rings record time: “Every year the trees in our forests show the swing of Time’s pendulum and put down a mark.
They are chronographs, recording clocks, by which the succeeding seasons are set down through definite imprints,” he wrote in the pages of .
Some isotopes have very long half-lives, measured in billions or even trillions of years.
A contemporary tree—that is, a tree that was either just cut down or still living—can tell you not just how many years it has lived, but which years in which it lived. What if it’s been used to build a home or a ship or a bonfire?
I found several good sources, but none that seemed both complete enough to stand alone and simple enough for a nongeologist to understand them.