Lisle Oct 27, Geology , Origins , Physics. We are told that scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to measure the age of rocks. We are also told that this method very reliably and consistently yields ages of millions to billions of years, thereby establishing beyond question that the earth is immensely old - a concept known as deep time. This apparently contradicts the biblical record in which we read that God created in six days, with Adam being made on the sixth day. From the listed genealogies, the creation of the universe happened about years ago. Has science therefore disproved the Bible?
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50) Geologic Dating Methods
Login or Register in order to comment. Related Articles on Ancient-Origins. Every culture has an explanation about how we got here. The ancient Greeks were no different. The dramatic story of the origins of humanity in Greek mythology involves love, pain, and a hefty dose of Harlech Castle is a medieval castle located in Harlech, in the Welsh county of Gwynedd.
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Potassium and potassium are isotopes - elements with the same number of protons in the nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons. Potassium is stable, meaning it is not radioactive and will remain potassium indefinitely. No external force is necessary. The conversion happens naturally over time.
The time at which a given potassium atom converts to argon atom cannot be predicted in advance. It is apparently random.
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However, when a sufficiently large number of potassium atoms is counted, the rate at which they convert to argon is very consistent. Think of it like popcorn in the microwave.
You cannot predict when a given kernel will pop, or which kernels will pop before other kernels. But the rate of a large group of them is such at after 1. This number has been extrapolated from the much smaller fraction that converts in observed time frames. Different radioactive elements have different half-lives.
The potassium half-life is 1. But the half-life for uranium is about 4. The carbon half-life is only years. Cesium has a half-life of 30 years, and oxygen has a half-life of only The answer has to do with the exponential nature of radioactive decay. The rate at which a radioactive substance decays in terms of the number of atoms per second that decay is proportional to the amount of substance. So after one half-life, half of the substance will remain.
After another half-life, one fourth of the original substance will remain. Another half-life reduces the amount to one-eighth, then one-sixteenth and so on. The substance never quite vanishes completely, until we get down to one atom, which decays after a random time. Since the rate at which various radioactive substances decay has been measured and is well known for many substances, it is tempting to use the amounts of these substances as a proxy for the age of a volcanic rock.
After 1. So, if you happened to find a rock with 1 microgram of potassium and a small amount of argon, would you conclude that the rock is 1.
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If so, what assumptions have you made? In the previous hypothetical example, one assumption is that all the argon was produced from the radioactive decay of potassium But is this really known? How do you know for certain that the rock was not made last Thursday, already containing significant amounts of argon and with only 1 microgram of potassium?
In a laboratory, it is possible to make a rock with virtually any composition.
Ultimately, we cannot know. But there is a seemingly good reason to think that virtually all the argon contained within a rock is indeed the product of radioactive decay. Volcanic rocks are formed when the lava or magma cools and hardens.
But argon is a gas.
Since lava is a liquid, any argon gas should easily flow upward through it and escape. Thus, when the rock first forms, it should have virtually no argon gas within it. But as potassium decays, the argon content will increase, and presumably remain trapped inside the now-solid rock.
So, by comparing the argon to potassium ratio in a volcanic rock, we should be able to estimate the time since the rock formed. This is called a model-age method. In this type of method, we have good theoretical reasons to assume at least one of the initial conditions of the rock.
The initial amount of argon when the rock has first hardened should be close to zero. Yet we know that this assumption is not always true.
We know this because we have tested the potassium-argon method on recent rocks whose age is historically known. That is, brand new rocks that formed from recent volcanic eruptions such as Mt. Helens have been age-dated using the potassium-argon method. Their estimated ages were reported as hundreds of thousands of years based on the argon content, even though the true age was less than 10 years. Since the method has been shown to fail on rocks whose age is known, would it make sense to trust the method on rocks of unknown age?
But many secular scientists continue to trust the potassium-argon model-age method on rocks of unknown age. If so, then their true ages are much less than their radiometric age estimates. The age estimate could be wrong by a factor of hundreds of thousands.
But how would you know? We must also note that rocks are not completely solid, but porous. And gas can indeed move through rocks, albeit rather slowly.
So the assumption that all the produced argon will remain trapped in the rock is almost certainly wrong. And it is also possible for argon to diffuse into the rock of course, depending on the relative concentration. So the system is not as closed as secularists would like to think.
There are some mathematical methods by which scientists attempt to estimate the initial quantity of elements in a rock, so that they can compensate for elements like argon that might have been present when the rock first formed. Such techniques are called isochron methods. They are mathematically clever, and we may explore them in a future article.
However, like the model-age method, they are known to give incorrect answers when applied to rocks of known age. And neither the model-age method nor the isochron method are able to assess the assumption that the decay rate is uniform.
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As we will see below, this assumption is very dubious. Years ago, a group of creation scientists set out to explore the question of why radiometric dating methods give inflated age estimates. We know they do because of the aforementioned tests on rocks whose origins were observed. But why? Which of the three main assumptions initial conditions are known, rate of decay is known, the system is close is false? To answer this question, several creation geologists and physicists came together to form the RATE research initiative R adioisotopes and the A ge of T he E arth.
This multi-year research project engaged in several different avenues of study, and found some fascinating results.
Earth dating methods
As mentioned above, the isochron method uses some mathematical techniques in an attempt to estimate the initial conditions and assess the closed-ness of the system. However, neither it nor the model-age method allow for the possibility that radioactive decay might have occurred at a different rate in the past.
In other words, all radiometric dating methods assume that the half-life of any given radioactive element has always been the same as it is today. If that assumption is false, then all radiometric age estimates will be unreliable.
As it turns out, there is compelling evidence that the half-lives of certain slow-decaying radioactive elements were much smaller in the past. This may be the main reason why radiometric dating often gives vastly inflated age estimates.
First, a bit of background information is in order. Most physicists had assumed that radioactive half-lives have always been what they are today. Many experiments have confirmed that most forms of radioactive decay are independent of temperature, pressure, external environment, etc.
In other words, the half-life of carbon is years, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Given the impossibility of altering these half-lives in a laboratory, it made sense for scientists to assume that such half-lives have always been the same throughout earth history. But we now know that this is wrong. In fact, it is very wrong.
Methods for dating the earth There is the commonly used. Find. Is the age of core formation, on recorded history and search over 40 million singles: earth's accretion, have revolutionized quaternary science letters. Most scientists today believe .
More recently, scientists have been able to change the half-lives of some forms of radioactive decay in a laboratory by drastic amounts.
However, by ionizing the Rhenium removing all its electronsscientists were able to reduce the half-life to only 33 years! In other words, the Rhenium decays over 1 billion times faster under such conditions. Thus, any age estimates based on Rhenium-Osmium decay may be vastly inflated. The RATE research initiative found compelling evidence that other radioactive elements also had much shorter half-lives in the past. Several lines of evidence suggest this.
But for brevity and clarity, I will mention only one.
This involves the decay of uranium into lead Unlike the potassium-argon decay, the uranium-lead decay is not a one-step process.
Rather, it is a step process. Uranium decays into thorium, which is also radioactive and decays into polonium, which decays into uranium, and so on, eventually resulting in lead, which is stable. Eight of these fourteen decays release an alpha-particle: the nucleus of a helium atom which consists of two protons and two neutrons.
The helium nucleus quickly attracts a couple of electrons from the environment to become a neutral helium atom. So, for every one atom of uranium that converts into lead, eight helium atoms are produced.
Helium gas is therefore a byproduct of uranium decay.
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And since helium is a gas, it can leak through the rocks and will eventually escape into the atmosphere. The RATE scientists measured the rate at which helium escapes, and it is fairly high.
Therefore, if the rocks were billions of years old, the helium would have had plenty of time to escape, and there would be very little helium in the rocks. However, the RATE team found that rocks have a great deal of helium within them.
Mar 17, The first method was based on radioactive elements whose property of decay occurs at a constant rate, known as the half-life of the isotope. Today, many different radioactive elements have been used, but the most famous absolute dating method is radiocarbon dating, which uses the isotope 14 C. This isotope, which can be found in organic. Oct 27, We are told that scientists use a technique called radiometric dating to measure the age of rocks. We are also told that this method very reliably and consistently yields ages of millions to billions of years, thereby establishing beyond question that the earth is immensely old - a concept known as deep time. The Dating, Geological Society earth London. Speculations about the age methods the earth and primitive mantle characteristics". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Scientific American. ABOUT THE MAGAZINE. Archived from the original on. Meteorites and the Age of .
In fact, the amount of helium in the rocks is perfectly consistent with their biblical age of a few thousand years! It is wildly inconsistent with billions of years. But the fact that such helium is present also indicates that a great deal of radioactive decay has happened; a lot of uranium atoms have decayed into lead, producing the helium. At the current half-life of uranium, this would take billions of years.
But if it actually took billions of years, then the helium would have escaped the rocks. The only reasonable explanation that fits all the data is that the half-life of uranium was much smaller in the past.
That is, in the past, uranium transformed into lead much faster than it does today. The RATE team found similar evidence for other forms of radioactive decay.
Apparently, during the creation week and possibly during the year of the global flood, radioactive decay rates were much faster than they are today. The RATE team also found that the acceleration of radioactive decay was greater for elements with longer half-lives, and less for elements with shorter half-lives. All radiometric dating methods used on rocks assume that the half-life of the decay has always been what it is today.
But we now have compelling evidence that this assumption is false. And since the decay rate was much faster in the past, those who do not compensate for this will end up with age-estimates that are vastly inflated from the true age of the rock.
This of course is exactly what we observe. We already knew that radiometric dating tends to give ages that are much older than the true age. Now we know why. For whatever reason, many people have the false impression that carbon dating is what secular scientists use to estimate the age of earth rocks at billions of years. Carbon dating is not used on rocks, because rocks do not have much carbon in them.