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Age estimates can be cross-tested by using different isotope pairs.

Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.

Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates.

A key point is that it is no longer necessary simply to accept one chemical determination of a rock's age.

In fact, they track because radiometric data is accurate.

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For example, potassium decays into two different isotopes of argon having different half-lives.

Sediment columns giving an unbroken history for more than 25,000 years have been identified in about 30 locations around the world.

Coral growth patterns are also seasonal and provide a long independent date history. The dates obtained by different radiometric isotope pairs cross-check each other.

There are about two dozen decay pairs used for dating.

Uranium 235 decay to lead has a half-life of 713 million years, so it is well suited to dating the universe.

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