Strontium dating

These remnants of ancient undergarments–likely made of flax– were in turn analyzed.

By tracing the isotopes in strontium, a chemical element in the flax fibers, researchers found that the plant likely originated in a terrain geologically older than that of Denmark–someplace more similar to northern Scandinavia, such as Norway and Sweden.

Thus, a precise measurement of the Sr ratio in a modern volcano can be used to determine age if recycled older crust is present.

A ratio for average continental crust of about 0.72 has been determined by measuring strontium from clamshells from the major river systems.

Since the late 19th century, hundreds of mummified corpses dating back as many as 10,000 years have been discovered in the wetlands of northern Europe. Thanks to lack of oxygen and the anti-microbial properties of peat moss, their mummified corpses have been extraordinarily well preserved, including discernible facial features, fingerprints, hair, nails and other traits.

Scientists have long studied these so-called “bog bodies” in the hopes of learning more about who they were and how they died. As Iron Age Europeans left no written records about their customs or their religious rituals, researchers can only speculate as to why the bodies were buried in the bogs instead of cremated, which was the general practice at the time.

Dissolved strontium in the oceans today has a value of 0.709 that is dependent on the relative input from the continents and the ridges.

This difference may appear small, but, considering that modern instruments can make the determination to a few parts in 70,000, it is quite significant.An atom with the same number of protons in the nucleus but a different number of neutrons is called an isotope.For example, uranium-238 is an isotope of uranium-235, because it has 3 more neutrons in the nucleus.They also traced isotopes in the strontium in Huldremose Woman’s skin to outside Denmark, supporting the hypothesis that she traveled before she died.“At first we thought this must be a witch–now we think she’s a very fine lady with expensive jewelry and expensive clothes and underwear,” Frei explained.If we knew the fraction of a radioactive element still remaining in a mineral, it would be a simple matter to calculate its age by the formula To determine the fraction still remaining, we must know both the amount now present and also the amount present when the mineral was formed.

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