Radioactive decay[ edit ] Example of a radioactive decay chain from lead Pb to lead Pb. The final decay product, lead Pb , is stable and can no longer undergo spontaneous radioactive decay. All ordinary matter is made up of combinations of chemical elements , each with its own atomic number , indicating the number of protons in the atomic nucleus. Additionally, elements may exist in different isotopes , with each isotope of an element differing in the number of neutrons in the nucleus. A particular isotope of a particular element is called a nuclide. Some nuclides are inherently unstable. That is, at some point in time, an atom of such a nuclide will undergo radioactive decay and spontaneously transform into a different nuclide. This transformation may be accomplished in a number of different ways, including alpha decay emission of alpha particles and beta decay electron emission, positron emission, or electron capture.
There are lots of ways to guesstimate ages, and geologists knew the earth was old a long time ago and I might add that they were mostly Christian creationist geologists. But they didn’t know how old. Radiometric dating actually allows the measurement of absolute ages, and so it is deadly to the argument that the earth cannot be more than 10, years old. Radiometric methods measure the time elapsed since the particular radiometric clock was reset.
Radiocarbon dating, which is probably best known in the general public, works only on things that were once alive and are now dead.
Dating – Rubidium–strontium method: The radioactive decay of rubidium (87Rb) to strontium (87Sr) was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method. Rubidium is a relatively abundant trace element in Earth’s crust and can be found in many common rock-forming minerals in which it substitutes for the major element potassium.
Example[ edit ] For example, consider the case of an igneous rock such as a granite that contains several major Sr-bearing minerals including plagioclase feldspar , K-feldspar , hornblende , biotite , and muscovite. Rubidium substitutes for potassium within the lattice of minerals at a rate proportional to its concentration within the melt. The ideal scenario according to Bowen’s reaction series would see a granite melt begin crystallizing a cumulate assemblage of plagioclase and hornblende i.
This then causes orthoclase and biotite, both K rich minerals into which Rb can substitute, to precipitate. The resulting Rb-Sr ratios and Rb and Sr abundances of both the whole rocks and their component minerals will be markedly different. This, thus, allows a different rate of radiogenic Sr to evolve in the separate rocks and their component minerals as time progresses. Calculating the age[ edit ] The age of a sample is determined by analysing several minerals within the sample.
If these form a straight line then the samples are consistent, and the age probably reliable. The slope of the line dictates the age of the sample. Several preconditions must be satisfied before a Rb-Sr date can be considered as representing the time of emplacement or formation of a rock. Rb and Sr are relatively mobile alkaline elements and as such are relatively easily moved around by the hot, often carbonated hydrothermal fluids present during metamorphism or magmatism. Conversely, these fluids may metasomatically alter a rock, introducing new Rb and Sr into the rock generally during potassic alteration or calcic albitisation alteration.
Rb-Sr can then be used on the altered mineralogy to date the time of this alteration, but not the date at which the rock formed. Thus, assigning age significance to a result requires studying the metasomatic and thermal history of the rock, any metamorphic events, and any evidence of fluid movement.
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.
This is a definitive, masterly history and synthesis of all that has been said (by theologians and scientists) and is known (to science) about the question, How old is the Earth?
Manicouagan crater, Quebec, Canada is visible in the background. Exhumed paleoplains of the Precambrian shield of North America. American Journal of Science, , — The viscous flow behavior of diaplectic glass and fusion-formed glass: A Comparitive study on shocked anorthosite from Manicouagan crater, Canada. Diaplectic glass and fusion-formed glass: Comparative studies on shocked anorthosite from Manicouagan crater, Canada. Diaplectic labradorite glass from the Manicouagan impact crater.
Physical properties, crystallization, structural and genetic implications.
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.
Creation Versus Evolution: We compare the theory of evolution with the Bible’s creation account in easy-to-understand terms, using evidence from the fields of paleontology, geology, biology, and provide links and a bibliography for those who want to study both sides of the issue.
Methods of Dating the Age of Meteorites Meteorites are among the oldest objects we know about – formed about 4. But how do scientists know this? This article describes the principles and methods used to make that determination. There are well-known methods of finding the ages of some natural objects. Trees undergo spurts in growth in the spring and summer months while becoming somewhat dormant in the fall and winter months. When a tree is cut down, these periods are exhibited in a cross section of the trunk in the form of rings.
Simply counting the number of rings will give one a fairly good idea of the age of the tree. Periods of heavy rain and lots of sunshine will make larger gaps of growth in the rings, while periods of drought might make it difficult to count individual rings. When determining the ages of very old objects, the only suitable clocks we have found involve the measurement of decay products of radioactive isotopes. Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different amounts of neutrons.
Some isotopes are stable, whereas others are radioactive and decay into other components called daughter isotopes.
Rubidium—strontium method The radioactive decay of rubidium 87Rb to strontium 87Sr was the first widely used dating system that utilized the isochron method. Because rubidium is concentrated in crustal rocks, the continents have a much higher abundance of the daughter isotope strontium compared with the stable isotopes. A ratio for average continental crust of about 0. This difference may appear small, but, considering that modern instruments can make the determination to a few parts in 70, , it is quite significant.
Dissolved strontium in the oceans today has a value of 0. Thus, if well-dated, unaltered fossil shells containing strontium from ancient seawater are analyzed, changes in this ratio with time can be observed and applied in reverse to estimate the time when fossils of unknown age were deposited.
Note that the Rb-Sr isochron method requires no knowledge or assumptions about either the isotopic composition or the amount of the initial daughter isotope — in fact, these are learned from the method.
March 28, This post is about elevation measurements for exposure-dating samples, and how accurate they need to be. Basically, the main thing that controls cosmogenic-nuclide production rates is site elevation, or, more precisely, atmospheric pressure — at higher elevation, there is less atmosphere between you and the extraterrestrial cosmic-ray flux, so the production rate is higher.
Thus, to compute the cosmogenic-nuclide production rate at a sample site, the first thing we need to know is the elevation. Once we know the elevation, we can convert it to a mean atmospheric pressure using a model for how the atmospheric pressure varies with elevation, and then compute the production rate. The second one — converting an elevation to a mean atmospheric pressure during the exposure duration of the sample — is actually a fairly complicated problem and is the subject of another post , as well as a fairly large number of papers.
However, the first one — accurately measuring the elevation — ought to be pretty simple. In general, determining your elevation is a fairly well-established technology that people have been working on for centuries. So the rest of this post covers i exactly how precise we need elevation measurements to be, and ii various ways to accomplish or not accomplish that goal.
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.
How radiometric dating works in general: Radioactive elements decay gradually into other elements. The original element is called the parent, and the result of the decay process is .
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.
Important We believe any unbiased reader will realize that we were fair with our treatment of the two models in the table above. Yet, although the theory of evolution matches the facts in some cases, evolution is still an unproven theory. By now, you may believe it should be your first choice also. Unlike many others that preceded us, we attempted to find a clear defense of evolution for two reasons: To keep from being accused of bias.
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.
This age is obtained from radiometric dating and is assumed by evolutionists to provide a sufficiently long time-frame for Darwinian evolution. And OE Christians theistic evolutionists see no problem with this dating whilst still accepting biblical creation, see Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective. This is the crucial point: Some claim Genesis in particular, and the Bible in general looks mythical from this standpoint. A full discussion of the topic must therefore include the current scientific challenge to the OE concept.
This challenge is mainly headed by Creationism which teaches a young-earth YE theory. A young earth is considered to be typically just 6, years old since this fits the creation account and some dating deductions from Genesis. The crucial point here is: Accepted Dating Methods Here we outline some dating methods , both absolute and relative, that are widely accepted and used by the scientific community.
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.
The rubidium-strontium dating method is a radiometric dating technique used by scientists to determine the age of rocks and minerals from the quantities they contain of specific isotopes of rubidium (87 Rb) and strontium (87 Sr, 86 Sr).. Development of this process was aided by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, who later went on to discover nuclear fission in December
January Fossils provide a record of the history of life. Smith is known as the Father of English Geology. Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods. Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better. Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.
These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views. Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data. The rejection of the validity of fossils and of dating by religious fundamentalists creates a problem for them: Millions of fossils have been discovered.
Shirey and James E. The loose crystals range from 1. Photo by Orasa Weldon. ABSTRACT It has been more than two decades since diamond ages have proven to be up to billions of years older than their host magmas of kimberlite or lamproite. Since then, there have been significant advances in the analysis of diamonds and their mineral inclusions, in the understanding of diamond-forming fluids in the mantle, and in the relationship of diamonds to the deep geology of the continents and the convecting mantle.
The occurrence of natural diamonds is remarkable and important to earth studies.
Examines the last two decades’ advances in analyzing and understanding the formation of natural diamonds, and their relation to the earth’s formation.
The enhanced detail of plate tectonic processes provided by these new data did not, however, result in such a dramatic advance as would have been expected. Hot spots and mantle plumes were by then firmly established concepts in explaining the observed linear chains of volcanic islands and in providing a super-deep mantle frame of reference the hotspot reference frame that was independent of plate motions at the surface.
Accumulating scientific evidence over half a decade and recent GPS-derived absolute plate motions suggest that both the mantle plume frame of reference and the age dependence along volcanic lineaments are not as strong as once believed. This article investigates the complex tectono-magmatic processes involved in the opening of the Central, Equatorial and South Atlantic Ocean and asks the simple question of whether there is an alternative tectonic model to explain the phenomena seen in the satellite gravity field.
The case is made that hot spots or mantle plumes are not necessarily required to explain the volcanic lineaments and that most, if not all, features result from deformational processes during the evolution of the plates. Such a model has a range of implications which, hopefully, can be tested to further refine the model. To evaluate and develop the proposed model the resolution of the satellite gravity needs to be increased to about 10 km.
The need for such resolution is illustrated in this study and will significantly improve our understanding of oceanic crust-forming processes, particularly the role of magmatism and intra-plate deformation, 2. Click on image for a larger version. In the South Atlantic these transform faults are typically spaced some km apart, reflect relative plate motion directions of the newly formed crust and occur at offsets of the normal faulted median rift valley that marks the axis of the ridge.
The sites of these active transforms are regions of decreased magma generation, resulting in the transform zone being starved of volcanism, which is expressed as a deep trough in the oceanic crust. Free air gravity Image of a small part of the mid South Atlantic mid-ocean ridge.