Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth
How old are your rocks?
4 Oct Many accept radiometric dating methods as proof that the earth is millions of years old, in contrast to the biblical timeline. Mike Riddle exposes the unbiblical assumptions used in these calculations. 6 Mar In , geologist Arthur Holmes published “the Age of the Earth,” the first major effort to date the planet using radiometric dating. “It is perhaps a little indelicate to ask of our Mother Earth her age,” he wrote in his introduction — then proceeded to reveal that she was roughly billion years old. 27 Feb Scientists have calculated that Earth is billion years old, with an error range of 50 million years. In the early 20th century, scientists refined the process of radiometric dating. Earlier research had shown that isotopes of some radioactive elements decay into other elements at rates that can be easily.
Looks like you are using an old version of Internet Explorer - Please update How Old Is Earth According To Radiometric Dating browser. If you already have an account, Sign in. Many accept radiometric dating methods as proof that the earth is millions of years old, in contrast to the biblical timeline. Mike Riddle exposes the unbiblical assumptions used in these calculations. T he presupposition of long ages is an icon and foundational to the evolutionary model.
Nearly every textbook and see more journal teaches that the earth is billions of years old. The primary dating method scientists use for determining the age of the earth is radioisotope dating. Proponents of evolution publicize radioisotope dating as a reliable and consistent method for obtaining absolute ages of rocks and the age of the earth.
This apparent consistency in textbooks and the media has convinced many Christians to accept an old earth 4. Radioisotope dating also referred to as radiometric dating is the process of estimating the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements.
There are certain kinds of atoms in nature that are unstable and spontaneously change decay into other kinds of atoms. For example, uranium will radioactively decay through a series of steps until it becomes the stable element lead. Likewise, potassium click into the element argon.
The original element is referred to as the parent element in these cases uranium and potassiumand the end result is called the daughter element lead and argon. The straightforward reading of Scripture reveals that the days of creation Genesis 1 were literal days and that the earth is just thousands of years old and not billions.
There appears to be a fundamental conflict between the Bible and the reported ages given by radioisotope dating. However, rather than accept the How Old Is Earth According To Radiometric Dating account of creation, many Christians have accepted the radioisotope dates of billions of years and attempted to fit long ages into the Bible. The implications of doing this are profound and affect many parts of the Bible.
Radioisotope dating is commonly used to date igneous rocks. These are rocks which form when hot, molten material cools and solidifies. Types of igneous rocks include granite and basalt lava. These types of rocks are comprised of particles from many preexisting rocks which were transported mostly by water and redeposited somewhere else. Types of sedimentary rocks include sandstone, shale, and limestone.
Uranium U is an isotope of uranium. Isotopes are varieties of an element that have the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons within the nucleus.
For example, carbon 14 C is a particular isotope. All carbon atoms have 6 protons but can vary in the number of neutrons. Extra neutrons often lead to instability, or radioactivity. Likewise, all isotopes varieties of uranium have 92 protons. It is unstable and will radioactively decay first into Th thorium and finally into Pb lead Sometimes a radioactive decay will cause an atom to lose 2 protons and 2 neutrons called alpha decay.
For example, the decay of U into Th is an alpha decay process. In this case the How Old Is Earth According To Radiometric Dating mass changes to Atomic mass is the heaviness of an atom when compared to hydrogen, which is assigned the value of one. Another type of decay is called beta decay. In beta decay, either an electron is lost and a neutron is converted into a proton beta minus decay or an electron is added and a proton is converted into a neutron beta plus decay.
In beta decay the total atomic mass does not change significantly. The decay of Th into Pa protactinium is an example of beta decay. The radioisotope dating clock starts when a rock cools. During the molten state it is assumed that the intense heat will force any gaseous daughter elements like argon to escape.
How Old is the Earth
Once the rock cools it is assumed that no more atoms can escape and any daughter element found in a rock will be the result of radioactive decay. The dating process then requires measuring how much daughter element is in a rock sample and knowing the decay rate i. The decay rate is measured in terms of half-life. Half-life is defined as the length of time it takes half of the remaining atoms of a radioactive parent element to decay.
Half-lives as measured today are very accurate, even the extremely slow half-lives. That is, billion-year half-lives can be measured statistically in just hours of read more. The following table is a sample of different element half-lives.
Scientists use observational science to measure the amount of a daughter How Old Is Earth According To Radiometric Dating within a rock sample and to determine the present observable decay rate of the parent element. Dating methods must also rely on another kind of science called historical science.
Historical science cannot be observed. Determining the conditions present when a rock first formed can only be studied through historical science. Determining how the environment might have affected a rock also falls under historical science.
Neither condition is directly observable. We can use scientific techniques in the present, combined with assumptions about historical events, to estimate the age. Therefore, there are several assumptions that must be made in radioisotope dating.
Three critical assumptions can affect the results during radioisotope dating:. Radioisotope dating can be better understood using an illustration with an hourglass. If we walk into a room and observe an hourglass with sand at the top and sand at the bottom, we could calculate how long the hourglass has been running.
Radiometric dating and the age of the Earth
By estimating how fast the sand is falling and measuring the amount of sand at the bottom, we could calculate how much time has elapsed since the hourglass was turned over. All our calculations could be correct observational sciencebut the result could be wrong. This is because we failed to take into account some critical assumptions. Since we did not observe the initial conditions when the hourglass time started, we must make assumptions.
All three of these assumptions can affect our time calculations. If scientists fail to consider each of these three critical assumptions, then radioisotope dating can give incorrect ages. We know that radioisotope dating does not always work because we can test it on rocks of known age. Ina team of eight research scientists known as the RATE group Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth set out to investigate the assumptions commonly made in standard radioisotope dating practices also referred to as single-sample radioisotope dating.
Their findings were significant and directly impact the evolutionary dates of millions of years.
All three of these assumptions can affect our time calculations. The Canyon Diablo meteorite is important because it represents a class of meteorites with components that allow for more precise dating. The validity of ages obtained by this technique can be verified from the data alone in a manner analogous to the Rb-Sr isochron method discussed above.
A rock sample from the newly formed lava dome from Mount St. Helens was dated using Potassium-Argon dating. The newly formed rock gave ages for the different minerals in it of between 0. Eleven samples were taken from solidified lava and dated. These rocks are known to have formed from eruptions in, and The rock samples were sent to a respected commercial laboratory Geochron Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
When radioisotope dating fails to give accurate dates on rocks of known age, why should we trust it for rocks of unknown age? In each case the ages of the rocks were greatly inflated. There is another form of dating called isochron dating, which involves analyzing four or more samples from the same rock unit. This form of dating attempts to eliminate one of the assumptions in single-sample radioisotope dating by using ratios and graphs rather than counting atoms present. It does not depend on the initial concentration of the daughter element being zero.
How Do We Know How Old Everything Is?
The isochron dating technique is thought to be infallible because it supposedly eliminates the assumptions about starting conditions. However, this method has different assumptions about starting conditions and can give incorrect dates.
If single-sample and isochron dating methods are objective and reliable they should agree. However, they frequently do not.
The age of the Solar system is an impressively precise observation. Scientists use observational science to measure the amount of a daughter element within a rock sample and to determine the present observable decay rate of the parent element. The K-Ar clock works primarily on igneous rocks, i.
When a rock is dated by more than one method it may yield very different ages. For example, the RATE group obtained radioisotope dates from ten different locations.
To omit any potential bias, the rock samples were analyzed by several commercial laboratories. In each case, the isochron dates differed substantially from the single-sample radioisotope dates.
In some cases the range was more than million years. If different methods yield different ages and there are variations with the same method, how can scientists know for sure the age of any rock or the age of the earth? In one specific case, samples were taken from the Cardenas Basalt, which is among the oldest strata in the eastern Grand Canyon. Next, samples from the western Canyon basalt lava flows, which are among the youngest formations in the canyon, were analyzed.
Using the rubidium-strontium isochron dating method, an age How Old Is Earth According To Radiometric Dating 1. The youngest rocks gave a billion year age the same as the oldest rocks!
Are the dates given in textbooks and journals accurate and objective? When assumptions are taken into consideration and discordant disagreeing or unacceptable dates are not omitted, radioisotope dating often gives inconsistent and inflated ages.
The RATE team selected two locations to collect rock samples to conduct analyses using multiple radioisotope dating methods. Both sites are understood by geologists to date from this web page Precambrian supposedly —4, million years ago. All rock samples whole rock and separate minerals within the rock were analyzed using four radioisotope methods.
In order to avoid any bias, the dating procedures were contracted out to commercial laboratories located in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Ontario, Canada. In order to have a level of confidence in dating, different radioisotope methods used to date a rock sample should closely coincide in age.