Frequently Asked Questions on Uranium-Thorium Dating
1. What are the general guidelines for sending samples for U-Th dating?
We have general sample size selection guidelines available here.
2. What kind of sample would be considered an open system?
An open system is one in which the sample is freely exchanging uranium with the environment around it, thus, leading to potentially aberrant results. Common examples of open system materials are: Forams, bones, teeth, shells, and bulk sediment. If you have further questions on whether a specific sample is suitable for this analysis, please contact us for further advice.
3. What is the age range for U-Th dating?
The method we utilize works best with samples between 500 to 450,000 years old.
4. Can gypsum be submitted for U-Th dating?
Generally, gypsum can be considered an open system material, and would not be recommended for this analysis. However, we are planning to offer services for analyzing gypsum in the future.
5. Which analysis is better for my project, radiocarbon dating, or U-Th dating?
The answer depends on the specific research being conducted. Both techniques have very different applications, and unique limitations. We put together a detailed comparison here.
6. What are the youngest samples you have dated with U/Th dating?
At Isobar, we have dated samples that were 200 +/- 20 years old, however more robust dates are between 500 – 450,000 years before present.
7. Do we offer any other uranium series dating? (e.g. Uranium-uranium or uranium-lead)
At this point we cannot offer any of these services. We may be able to establish U-Pb on specific material within the next 2-3 years.
8. Can U-Th analyze foraminifera samples?
In general, forams can be analyzed but the U-Th dates on forams are misleading since it is an open system. Conducting U-Th geochronology on forams does not provide a reliable date due to the behavior of an open system. It may give you the age of 1000 years on a 200000 years old strata and vice versa. Therefore, we do not accept foraminifera samples.
9. Can we provide just U and Th concentration values?
No, we are not offering concentration for U or Th.
Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds || Speaker: Maren Pauly, PhD
This video excerpt is part of Isobar Science’s webinar: An Introduction to Uranium-Thorium Dating.
Disclaimer: This video is hosted in a third-party site and may contain advertising.
Page last updated: April 2021