What is uranium series dating

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We use U-Th dating to obtain a chronology for stalagmites which are used for palaeoclimate research (pdf), dating carbonate crusts on cave art to derive minimum age constraints for underlying art(paper Hoffmann et al. (2012) (DOI: 10.1126/science.1219957),speleothem formations in stratigraphic relationship with archaeological artefacts, travertine formation in relation with archaeology.

Ages of older sites can be obtained with the K–Ar method, but only where volcanic deposits are interstratified with the archaeological deposits.

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However, many of these sites are associated with synchronously deposited beds of calcium carbonate, occurring either as tufa mounds left by now extinct springs, or as layers of travertine (speleothem) in the mouths of formerly inhabited caves.

There are three such decay chains, each starts with an actinide nuclide (Th) having a long half live and ultimately ends with different a stable isotope of lead.

U-Th dating can be applied to secondary calcium carbonate formations like speleothems, travertine or corals. speleothems, we make use of an initial elemental fractionation between Th and U when carbonate bedrock is dissolved by percolating water.

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.

Scientists found that the practice of cave art in Europe began up to 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, indicating the paintings were created either by the first anatomically modern humans in Europe or, perhaps, by Neanderthals.

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