Uranium series dating

The U-series laboratory focuses on development and application of U-series dating techniques to provide a robust chronological framework for palaeoclimatology, archaeology and human evolution.

The U-series disequilibrium method is based on the radioactive decay of radionuclides within the naturally occurring decay chains.

Unlike other commonly used radiometric dating techniques such as rubidium-strontium or uranium-lead dating, the uranium-thorium technique does not measure accumulation of a stable end-member decay product.

Instead, the uranium-thorium technique calculates an age from the degree to which secular equilibrium has been restored between the radioactive isotope thorium-230 and its radioactive parent uranium-234 within a sample.

Thorium is not soluble in natural waters under conditions found at or near the surface of the earth, so materials grown in or from these waters do not usually contain thorium.

U-Th ages obtained by mass spectrometry in corals from Barbados: sea level during the past 130,000 years. The links on the left contain introductions to U-series methodologies and some successful applications, but also discuss some of the potential pitfalls and correction methods.Contrary to popular believe, radiometric dating does not date geological events but can only give the time of an element fractionation process.Differential solubility between uranium and its long lived daughter isotope Th is measured using MC-ICPMS.This method has a dating range up to about 600.000 years.

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