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It relates only to the accuracy of the measuring equipment in the laboratory.Even different samples of rock collected from the same outcrop would give a larger scatter of results. He would again say that the calculated age did not represent the time when the rock solidified.Clearly, Sedimentary Rocks A were deposited and deformed before the Volcanic Dyke intruded them.These were then eroded and Sedimentary Rocks B were deposited.He may suggest that some other very old material had contaminated the lava as it passed through the earth.Or he may suggest that the result was due to a characteristic of the lava—that the dyke had inherited an old ‘age’. 200.4 ± 3.2 million years) implies that the calculated date of 200.4 million years is accurate to plus or minus 3.2 million years.From the mapped field relationships, it is a simple matter to work out a geological cross-section and the relative timing of the geologic events.
They would all have fitted nicely into the field relationships that he had observed and his interpretation of them.
’ In fact, there is a whole range of standard explanations that geologists use to ‘interpret’ radiometric dating results.
Someone may ask, ‘Why do geologists still use radiometric dating?
The field relationships are generally broad, and a wide range of ‘dates’ can be interpreted as the time when the lava solidified.
What would our geologist have thought if the date from the lab had been greater than 200 million years, say 350.5 ± 4.3 million years?
He would say that the date represents the time when the volcanic lava solidified.