How Old is the Earth

Godthelp in Hill, Robert S. White, , The Nature of Hidden Worlds: Australian Conservation Foundation, Melbourne. Michael Archer, Suzanne J. Gehling, Kathleen Grey, Guy M. Franklin, The revolution that didn’t arrive: Aboriginal History 9,

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Alternating patterns of distinct laminae are commonly identified within glacial lake deposits and are generally interpreted in the following way: However, there is actually no empirical evidence to back the claim that varves form as annual deposits over extended periods of time. It appears then, that claiming a varve is an annual event is an assumption in itself; one steeped in uniformitarian thought, but not reality.

Morris 92 claims that free neutrons might change decay rates, but his arguments show that he does not understand either neutron reactions or radioactive decay.

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.

At first, the use of “key” diagnostic fossils was used to compare different areas of the geologic column. Although there were attempts to make relative age estimates, no direct dating method was available until the twentieth century. However, before this time some very popular indirect methods were available. For example, Lord Kelvin had estimated the ages of both the Earth and the Sun based on cooling rates.

The answer of 25 million years deduced by Kelvin was not received favorably by geologists. Both the physical geologists and paleontologists could point to evidence that much more time was needed to produce what they saw in the stratigraphic and fossil records. As one answer to his critics, Kelvin produced a completely independent estimate — this time for the age of the Sun.

His result was in close agreement with his estimate of the age of the earth. The solar estimate was based on the idea that the energy supply for the solar radioactive flux is gravitational contraction.

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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.

For example, it would be about one in million for rocks in the vicinity of 57 million years old.

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.

Problems with the U-Pb Radioisotope Dating Methods—1. Common Pb

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.

Second, there may have been a lot more more argon in the magma in the past, and with each eruption, the amount decreased.

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. There is also primordial Pb that the earth acquired when it formed, its isotopic composition determined as that of troilite in the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite. Subsequently new crustal rocks formed via partial melts from the mantle. So the Pb isotope ratios measured in these rocks today must be interpreted before their U-Pb ages can be calculated. Various methods have been devised to determine this initial or common Pb, but all involve making unprovable assumptions.

Zircon does incorporate initial Pb when it crystallizes. The amount of Pb cannot be measured independently and accurately. It cannot be demonstrated that the initial Pb only consisted of Pb atoms. It cannot be proven that the Pb in apparently cogenetic U- or Th-free minerals is only initial Pb, and that it is identical to the initial Pb in the mineral being dated. Nevertheless, the ultimate foundation of this U-Pb dating methodology is the assumption that the earth formed from the solar nebula.

Do Varves, Tree-Rings, and Radiocarbon Measurements Prove an Old Earth?

In a few cases, argon ages older than that of the Earth which violate local relative age patterns have even been determined for the mineral biotite.

If the date is too young, one can say that there was a later heating event.

localhost:81 #18 – Absolute radiometric age dating of rocks and geologic materials


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