The Radiometric Dating Game Radiometric dating methods estimate the age of rocks using calculations based on the decay rates of radioactive elements such as uranium, strontium, and potassium. On the surface, radiometric dating methods appear to give powerful support to the statement that life has existed on the earth for hundreds of millions, even billions, of years. We are told that these methods are accurate to a few percent, and that there are many different methods. We are told that of all the radiometric dates that are measured, only a few percent are anomalous. This gives us the impression that all but a small percentage of the dates computed by radiometric methods agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found, and that all of these various methods almost always give ages that agree with each other to within a few percentage points. Since there doesn’t seem to be any systematic error that could cause so many methods to agree with each other so often, it seems that there is no other rational conclusion than to accept these dates as accurate. However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old. If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found. I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions.
Q: How can carbon dating work on things that were never alive?
Posted on July 21, by The Physicist Physicist: When things die they stop getting new carbon and the carbon they have is free to radioactively decay without getting replaced. Carbon has a half-life of about 5, years, so if you find a body with half the carbon of a living body, then that somebody would have been pretty impressed by bronze. Of course none of that helps when it comes to pottery and tools except wooden tools.
First, the lighter isotopes, those of hydrogen and helium, constitute more than 98 percent of the mass; heavier isotopes make up scarcely 2 percent.
These are K-Ar data obtained on glauconite, a potassium-bearing clay mineral that forms in some marine sediment. Woodmorappe fails to mention, however, that these data were obtained as part of a controlled experiment to test, on samples of known age, the applicability of the K-Ar method to glauconite and to illite, another clay mineral. He also neglects to mention that most of the 89 K-Ar ages reported in their study agree very well with the expected ages.
Evernden and others 43 found that these clay minerals are extremely susceptible to argon loss when heated even slightly, such as occurs when sedimentary rocks are deeply buried. As a result, glauconite is used for dating only with extreme caution. The ages from the Coast Range batholith in Alaska Table 2 are referenced by Woodmorappe to a report by Lanphere and others Whereas Lanphere and his colleagues referred to these two K-Ar ages of and million years, the ages are actually from another report and were obtained from samples collected at two localities in Canada, not Alaska.
There is nothing wrong with these ages; they are consistent with the known geologic relations and represent the crystallization ages of the Canadian samples. The Liberian example Table 2 is from a report by Dalrymple and others These authors studied dikes of basalt that intruded Precambrian crystalline basement rocks and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks in western Liberia. The dikes cutting the Precambrian basement gave K-Ar ages ranging from to million years Woodmorappe erroneously lists this higher age as million years , whereas those cutting the Mesozoic sedimentary rocks gave K-Ar ages of from to million years.
Woodmorappe does not mention that the experiments in this study were designed such that the anomalous results were evident, the cause of the anomalous results was discovered, and the crystallization ages of the Liberian dikes were unambiguously determined. The Liberian study is, in fact, an excellent example of how geochronologists design experiments so that the results can be checked and verified. The final example listed in Table 2 is a supposed 34 billion-year Rb-Sr isochron age on diabase of the Pahrump Group from Panamint Valley, California, and is referenced to a book by Faure and Powell
Problems with the U-Pb Radioisotope Dating Methods—1. Common Pb
Atmospheric nuclear weapon tests almost doubled the concentration of 14C in the Northern Hemisphere. One side-effect of the change in atmospheric carbon is that this has enabled some options e. The gas mixes rapidly and becomes evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere the mixing timescale in the order of weeks. Carbon dioxide also dissolves in water and thus permeates the oceans , but at a slower rate.
The transfer between the ocean shallow layer and the large reservoir of bicarbonates in the ocean depths occurs at a limited rate.
Radiometric ages on related formations indicate that the Pahrump diabase is about 1.
Horowi v Downstream hydraulic geometry of alluvial rivers – P. Julien Daily variability of suspended particulate concentrations and yields and their effect on river particulates chemistry – M. Kao Simulation of rainfall effects on sediment transport on steep slopes in an Alpine catchment – A. Haas Estimates of slope erosion intensity utilizing terrestrial laser scanning – B. Yoder Distributed soil loss estimation system including ephemeral gully development and tillage erosion – D.
Yoder Impact of precipitation and runoff on ephemeral gully development in cultivated croplands – V.
The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles. Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon. At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues. When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.
And this can also happen by water flowing through the rock through tiny cracks, dissolving parent and daughter elements.
The isochron method Many radioactive dating methods are based on minute additions of daughter products to a rock or mineral in which a considerable amount of daughter-type isotopes already exists. These isotopes did not come from radioactive decay in the system but rather formed during the original creation of the elements.
In this case, it is a big advantage to present the data in a form in which the abundance of both the parent and daughter isotopes are given with respect to the abundance of the initial background daughter. The incremental additions of the daughter type can then be viewed in proportion to the abundance of parent atoms. In mathematical terms this is achieved as follows. This term, shown in Figure 1, is called the initial ratio. The slope is proportional to the geologic age of the system.
In practice, the isochron approach has many inherent advantages. When a single body of liquid rock crystallizes, parent and daughter elements may separate so that, once solid, the isotopic data would define a series of points, such as those shown as open circles designated R1, R2, R3 in Figure 1. With time each would then develop additional daughter abundances in proportion to the amount of parent present. If a number of samples are analyzed and the results are shown to define a straight line within error, then a precise age is defined because this is only possible if each is a closed system and each has the same initial ratio and age.
The uncertainty in determining the slope is reduced because it is defined by many points. A second advantage of the method relates to the fact that under high-temperature conditions the daughter isotopes may escape from the host minerals. In this case, a valid age can still be obtained, provided that they remain within the rock.
Do Varves, Tree-Rings, and Radiocarbon Measurements Prove an Old Earth?
At the time that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, the earth was “scientifically” determined to be million years old. By , it was found to be 1. In , science firmly established that the earth was 3. Finally in , it was discovered that the earth is “really” 4. In these early studies the order of sedimentary rocks and structures were used to date geologic time periods and events in a relative way.
Like many sources from antiquity, Aristotle’s original manuscripts have been destroyed or lost and we only know of Aristotle’s works via series of copies and translations from the Greek into Arabic, then from Arabic into Latin and finally from Latin into English and other modern languages.
Ice Frozen form of the water molecule. Ice has a specific gravity 0. This difference in specific gravity causes ice to float on water. Ice Age Period of time when glaciers dominate the landscape of the Earth. The last major Ice Age was during the Pleistocene epoch. Iceberg A mass of ice found floating in the ocean or a lake. Often icebergs form when ice calves from land-based glaciers into the water body.
Icebergs can be dangerous to shipping in high and mid-latitude regions of the ocean because 90 percent of their mass lies below the ocean surface. Large dome-shaped glacier found covering a large expanse of land. Smaller than an ice sheet. Ice Fall An area of crevassed ice on a glacier.
Radioactive Decay Formula
Outlook Other Abstract U-Pb radioisotope dating is now the absolute dating method of first choice among geochronologists, especially using the mineral zircon. A variety of analytical instruments have also now been developed using different micro-sampling techniques coupled with mass spectrometers, thus enabling wide usage of U-Pb radioisotope dating. However, problems remain in the interpretation of the measured Pb isotopic ratios to transform them into ages.
Among them is the presence of non-radiogenic Pb of unknown composition, often referred to as common or initial Pb.
Through proof by contradiction reductio ad absurdum , he could give answers to problems to an arbitrary degree of accuracy, while specifying the limits within which the answer lay.
References Generic Radiometric Dating The simplest form of isotopic age computation involves substituting three measurements into an equation of four variables, and solving for the fourth. The equation is the one which describes radioactive decay: The variables in the equation are: Pnow – The quantity of the parent isotope that remains now. This is measured directly. Porig – The quantity of the parent isotope that was originally present.
This is computed from the current quantity of parent isotope plus the accumulated quantity of daughter isotope. Standard values are used, based on direct measurements. Solving the equation for “age,” and incorporating the computation of the original quantity of parent isotope, we get: Potential problems for generic dating Some assumptions have been made in the discussion of generic dating, for the sake of keeping the computation simple.
Nuclear Physics – Statistical Analysis of Isotope Masses
Herbchronology Dating methods in archaeology[ edit ] Same as geologists or paleontologists , archaeologists are also brought to determine the age of ancient materials, but in their case the areas of their studies are restricted to the history of both ancient and recent humans. Thus, to be considered as archaeological, the remains, objects or artifacts to be dated must be related to human activity.
It is commonly assumed that if the remains or elements to be dated are older than the human species, the disciplines which study them are sciences such geology or paleontology, among some others.
This scatter shows clearly that the sample has been an open system and that its age cannot be determined from these data.
Thus, in the standard notation, 11H refers to the simplest isotope of hydrogen and U to an isotope of uranium widely used for nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons fabrication. Authors who do not wish to use symbols sometimes write out the element name and mass number—hydrogen-1 and uranium in the examples above. The term nuclide is used to describe particular isotopes, notably in cases where the nuclear rather than the chemical properties of an atom are to be emphasized.
The lexicon of isotopes includes three other frequently used terms: The discovery of isotopes Evidence for the existence of isotopes emerged from two independent lines of research, the first being the study of radioactivity. By it had become clear that certain processes associated with radioactivity, discovered some years before by French physicist Henri Becquerel , could transform one element into another.
In particular, ores of the radioactive elements uranium and thorium had been found to contain small quantities of several radioactive substances never before observed. These substances were thought to be elements and accordingly received special names. Uranium ores, for example, yielded ionium, and thorium ores gave mesothorium.
Painstaking work completed soon afterward revealed, however, that ionium, once mixed with ordinary thorium, could no longer be retrieved by chemical means alone.
Battery and Energy Technologies
History of Technology Heroes and Villains – A little light reading Here you will find a brief history of technology. Initially inspired by the development of batteries, it covers technology in general and includes some interesting little known, or long forgotten, facts as well as a few myths about the development of technology, the science behind it, the context in which it occurred and the deeds of the many personalities, eccentrics and charlatans involved.
You may find the Search Engine , the Technology Timeline or the Hall of Fame quicker if you are looking for something or somebody in particular.
How could any logic be tolerated that made such poor assumptions?
E-mail An analysis of the precise NIST atomic mass of the members of a same atomic weight family of isotopes appears to provide some interesting results. Some important and surprising characteristics of nuclear structure seem to be clear, along with some fine-structure hints. Predictions of the half-life or stability of isotopes seem very reliable. The total amount of released energy in a Beta-decay kinetic and photon is also generally reliably known.
Generally, isotopes have always been examined as parts of a family of same-element isotopes. This research was quite different in considering them instead to be parts of families of same-atomic-weight isotopes. Even more significant is the fact that there seems to be very strong evidence that neutrons do not actually exist as neutrons within atomic nuclei!
They certainly exist in free space, but the presentation which follows suggests that they cannot exist within the atomic nucleus, that they must instead exist as SEPARATE protons and electrons within the nucleus. This actually agrees with a long-known fact which seems to have never troubled anyone before.