Fission track dating
Fleischer, R. L. Physical Science Branch, General Physics Laboratory, General Electric Company, Schenectady, New York.
Price, P. Buford, Jr. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California.
Walker, R. M. Department of Physics, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
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A method of dating geological and archeological specimens by counting the radiation-damage tracks produced by spontaneous fission of uranium impurities in minerals and glasses. During fission two fragments of the uranium nucleus fly apart with high energy, traveling a total distance of about 25 micrometers (0.001 in.) and creating a single, narrow but continuous, submicroscopic trail of altered material, where atoms have been ejected from their normal positions. Such a trail, or track, can be revealed by using a chemical reagent to dissolve the altered material, and the trail can then be seen in an ordinary microscope. The holes produced in this way can be enlarged by continued chemical attack until they are visible to the unaided eye. See also: Uranium
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