What is uranium series dating
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.Of the four isotopes of lead, two are formed from the uranium isotopes and one is formed from the thorium isotope; only lead-204 is not known to have any long-lived radioactive progenitor.Primordial lead is thought to have been formed by stellar nuclear reactions, released to space by supernovae explosions, and incorporated within the dust cloud that constituted the primordial solar system; the troilite (iron sulfide) phase of iron meteorites contains lead that approximates the primordial composition.If modern lead, for example, from marine sediments or modern basalts has the composition of lead in the Earth and if the lead in the troilite phase of iron meteorites has the composition of primordial lead, then a simple model yields about 4.6 billion years for the age of the Earth.
At this point it undergoes alpha decay (it releases an alpha particle, which is also the same as the nucleus of a Helium atom) and forms Thorium-230.
A total of 50 paintings in 11 caves in Northern Spain, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Altamira, El Castillo and Tito Bustillo, were dated by a team of UK, Spanish and Portuguese researchers led by Dr Alistair Pike of the University of Bristol, UK.
As traditional methods such as radiocarbon dating do not work where there is no organic pigment, the team dated the formation of tiny stalactites on top of the paintings using the radioactive decay of uranium. Where larger stalagmites had been painted, maximum ages were also obtained.
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.
Paleolithic paintings in El Castillo cave in Northern Spain date back at least 40,800 years -- making them Europe's oldest known cave art, according to new research.