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Research illuminates inaccuracies in radiocarbon dating
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However, a recent paper by Datjng. Hayes has pointed out a problem with isochrons that has, until eating, not been considered. The elements rubidium and strontium Fossil dating wrong found in many rocks. One form of rubidium Rb Foszil radioactive. As Fossil dating wrong above, a neutron in a Rb atom can eject an Fossil often called a Foxsil particlewhich has a negative charge. Since a neutron has no charge, it must become positively charged after emitting Fossio electron. In fact, it becomes a proton. This changes the chemical identity of the atom. It is no longer Rb; it is strontium Sr Sr is not radioactive, daring the change is permanent. We know how long it datinh Rb to turn into Datting, so in principle, if we analyze the amount of Rb and Sr in a rock, we should be able to tell how long the decay has been occurring.
Of course, there FFossil all sorts of datng involved. How much Sr was in the rock when it first formed? Was Rb or Sr added to dsting rock by some unknown process? Was one of them removed from the rock by some unknown process? The isochron is supposed to take care of such issues. Essentially, rather than looking at the amounts of Rb and Sr, we look at their ratios compared to Sr The ratio of Sr to Sr is graphed versus the ratio of Rb to Sr for several different parts of the rock. Steve Austin has found lava rocks on the Uinkeret Plateau at Grand Canyon with fictitious isochrons dating at 1.
Then a mixing of A and B will have the same fixed concentration of N everywhere, but the amount of D will be proportional to the amount of P. This produces an isochron yielding the same age as sample A. This is a reasonable scenario, since N is a non-radiogenic isotope not produced by decay such as leadand it can be assumed to have similar concentrations in many magmas. Magma from the ocean floor has little U and little U and probably little lead byproducts lead and lead Magma from melted continental material probably has more of both U and U and lead and lead Thus we can get an isochron by mixing, that has the age of the younger-looking continental crust.
The age will not even depend on how much crust is incorporated, as long as it is non-zero. However, if the crust is enriched in lead or impoverished in uranium before the mixing, then the age of the isochron will be increased. If the reverse happens before mixing, the age of the isochron will be decreased. Any process that enriches or impoverishes part of the magma in lead or uranium before such a mixing will have a similar effect. So all of the scenarios given before can also yield spurious isochrons. I hope that this discussion will dispel the idea that there is something magical about isochrons that prevents spurious dates from being obtained by enrichment or depletion of parent or daughter elements as one would expect by common sense reasoning.
So all the mechanisms mentioned earlier are capable of producing isochrons with ages that are too old, or that decrease rapidly with time. The conclusion is the same, radiometric dating is in trouble. I now describe this mixing in more detail. Suppose P p is the concentration of parent at a point p in a rock. The point p specifies x,y, and z co-ordinates. Let D p be the concentration of daughter at the point p. Let N p be the concentration of some non-radiogenic not generated by radioactive decay isotope of D at point p.
Wrong Fossil dating
Suppose this rock is obtained by mixing of two other rocks, A and B. Suppose that A has a for the sake of argument, uniform concentration of P1 of parent, D1 of daughter, and N1 of non-radiogenic isotope of the daughter. Thus P1, D1, and N1 are numbers between 0 and 1 whose sum adds to less than 1. Suppose B has concentrations P2, D2, and N2. Let r p be the fraction of A at any given point p in the mixture. So the usual methods for augmenting and depleting parent and daughter substances still work to influence the age of this isochron. More daughter product means an older age, and less daughter product relative to parent means a younger age. In fact, more is true. Any isochron whatever with a positive age and a constant concentration of N can be constructed by such a mixing.
It is only necessary to choose r p and P1, N1, and N2 so as to make P p and D p agree with the observed values, and there is enough freedom to do this. Anyway, to sum up, there are many processes that can produce a rock or magma A having a spurious parent-to-daughter ratio. Then from mixing, one can produce an isochron having a spurious age. This shows that computed radiometric ages, even isochrons, do not have any necessary relation to true geologic ages. Mixing can produce isochrons giving false ages. But anyway, let's suppose we only consider isochrons for which mixing cannot be detected. How do their ages agree with the assumed ages of their geologic periods?
As far as I know, it's anyone's guess, but I'd appreciate more information on this. I believe that the same considerations apply to concordia and discordia, but am not as familiar with them. It's interesting that isochrons depend on chemical fractionation for their validity. They assume that initially the magma was well mixed to assure an even concentration of lead isotopes, but that uranium or thorium were unevenly distributed initially. So this assumes at the start that chemical fractionation is operating. But these same chemical fractionation processes call radiometric dating into question. The relative concentrations of lead isotopes are measured in the vicinity of a rock.
The amount of radiogenic lead is measured by seeing how the lead in the rock differs in isotope composition from the lead around the rock. This is actually a good argument. But, is this test always done? How often is it done? And what does one mean by the vicinity of the rock? How big is a vicinity? One could say that some of the radiogenic lead has diffused into neighboring rocks, too. Some of the neighboring rocks may have uranium and thorium as well although this can be factored in in an isochron-type manner. Furthermore, I believe that mixing can also invalidate this test, since it is essentially an isochron. Finally, if one only considers U-Pb and Th-Pb dates for which this test is done, and for which mixing cannot be detected.
The above two-source mixing scenario is limited, because it can only produce isochrons having a fixed concentration of N p. To produce isochrons having a variable N pa mixing of three sources would suffice. This could produce an arbitrary isochron, so this mixing could not be detected. Also, it seems unrealistic to say that a geologist would discard any isochron with a constant value of N pas it seems to be a very natural condition at least for whole rock isochronsand not necessarily to indicate mixing. I now show that the mixing of three sources can produce an isochron that could not be detected by the mixing test.
First let me note that there is a lot more going on than just mixing. There can also be fractionation that might treat the parent and daughter products identically, and thus preserve the isochron, while changing the concentrations so as to cause the mixing test to fail. It is not even necessary for the fractionation to treat parent and daughter equally, as long as it has the same preference for one over the other in all minerals examined; this will also preserve the isochron. Now, suppose we have an arbitrary isochron with concentrations of parent, daughter, and non-radiogenic isotope of the daughter as P pD pand N p at point p.
Suppose that the rock is then diluted with another source which does not contain any of D, P, or N. Then these concentrations would be reduced by a factor of say r' p at point p, and so the new concentrations would be P p r' pD p r' pand N p r' p at point p. Now, earlier I stated that an arbitrary isochron with a fixed concentration of N p could be obtained by mixing of two sources, both having a fixed concentration of N p. With mixing from a third source as indicated above, we obtain an isochron with a variable concentration of N pand in fact an arbitrary isochron can be obtained in this manner. So we see that it is actually not much harder to get an isochron yielding a given age than it is to get a single rock yielding a given age.
This can happen by mixing scenarios as indicated above. Thus all of our scenarios for producing spurious parent-to-daughter ratios can be extended to yield spurious isochrons. The condition that one of the sources have no P, D, or N is fairly natural, I think, because of the various fractionations that can produce very different kinds of magma, and because of crustal materials of various kinds melting and entering the magma. In fact, considering all of the processes going on in magma, it would seem that such mixing processes and pseudo-isochrons would be guaranteed to occur. Even if one of the sources has only tiny amounts of P, D, and N, it would still produce a reasonably good isochron as indicated above, and this isochron could not be detected by the mixing test.
I now give a more natural three-source mixing scenario that can produce an arbitrary isochron, which could not be detected by a mixing test. P2 and P3 are small, since some rocks will have little parent substance. Suppose also that N2 and N3 differ significantly. Such mixings can produce arbitrary isochrons, so these cannot be detected by any mixing test. Also, if P1 is reduced by fractionation prior to mixing, this will make the age larger. If P1 is increased, it will make the age smaller. If P1 is not changed, the age will at least have geological significance. But it could be measuring the apparent age of the ocean floor or crustal material rather than the time of the lava flow.
I believe that the above shows the 3 source mixing to be natural and likely. We now show in more detail that we can get an arbitrary isochron by a mixing of three sources. Thus such mixings cannot be detected by a mixing test. Assume D3, P3, and N3 in source 3, all zero. One can get this mixing to work with smaller concentrations, too. All the rest of the mixing comes from source 3. Thus we produce the desired isochron. So this is a valid mixing, and we are done. We can get more realistic mixings of three sources with the same result by choosing the sources to be linear combinations of sources 1, 2, and 3 above, with more natural concentrations of D, P, and N.
The rest of the mixing comes from source 3. This mixing is more realistic because P1, N1, D2, and N2 are not so large. I did see in one reference the statement that some parent-to-daughter ratio yielded more accurate dates than isochrons. To me, this suggests the possibility that geologists themselves recognize the problems with isochrons, and are looking for a better method. The impression I have is that geologists are continually looking for new methods, hoping to find something that will avoid problems with existing methods. But then problems also arise with the new methods, and so the search goes on.
Foxsil Furthermore, here is wronb brief excerpt from a recent article which also indicates that isochrons often have severe problems. If all of these isochrons indicated mixing, one would think that this would have been Fosil The geological literature is filled Fossil dating wrong references to Rb-Sr isochron ages that are questionable, and even impossible. He comes Fossil dating wrong to recognizing the fact that Fossll Sr concentration is a third or confounding variable daing the isochron simple linear regression.
Datlng discusses numerous false ages in the U-Pb system where isochrons are also used. However, the U-Th-Pb method uses a different procedure that I have not examined and for which I have no data. Many of the above Fossul attempt to explain these "fictitious" ages by resorting to the mixing Fossil dating wrong several sources of eating containing different amounts of Rb, Sr, and Sr immediately before the formation hardens. AkridgeArmstrongArndtsBrown, Helmick and Baumann all discuss this Foossil in detail. Anyway, if isochrons producing meaningless ages can be produced by mixing, and this mixing cannot be detected if three or maybe even two, with Fossik sources are involved, and if mixing frequently occurs, and if simple parent-to-daughter dating also has severe problems, as datinv earlier, datinf I would conclude that the datinf of radiometric dating is open to serious question.
The many acknowledged anomalies in radiometric dating only add weight to this argument. I would also mention that there are some parent-to-daughter ratios and some isochrons that yield ages in the thousands of years for the geologic column, as one would expect if it is in fact very young. One might question why we do not have more isochrons with negative slopes if so many isochrons were caused by mixing. This depends on the nature of the samples that mix. It is not necessarily true that one will get the same number of negative as positive slopes. If I have a rock X with lots of uranium and lead daughter isotope, and rock Y with less of both relative to non-radiogenic leadthen one will get an isochron with a positive slope.
If rock X has lots of uranium and little daughter product, and rock Y has little uranium and lots of lead daughter product relative to non-radiogenic leadthen one will get a negative slope. This last case may be very rare because of the relative concentrations of uranium and lead in crustal material and subducted oceanic plates. Another interesting fact is that isochrons can be inherited from magma into minerals. Earlier, I indicated how crystals can have defects or imperfections in which small amounts of magma can be trapped. This can result in dates being inherited from magma into minerals. This can also result in isochrons being inherited in the same way.
So the isochron can be measuring an older age than the time at which the magma solidified. This can happen also if the magma is not thoroughly mixed when it erupts. If this happens, the isochron can be measuring an age older than the date of the eruption. This is how geologists explain away the old isochron at the top of the Grand Canyon. From my reading, isochrons are generally not done, as they are expensive. Isochrons require more measurements than single parent-to-daughter ratios, so most dates are based on parent-to-daughter ratios. So all of the scenarios given apply to this large class of dates.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it is not always possible to do an isochron. Often one does not get a straight line for the values. This is taken to imply re-melting after the initial solidification, or some other disturbing event. Anyway, this also reduces the number of data points obtained from isochrons. Anyway, suppose we throw out all isochrons for which mixing seems to be a possibility.
Due to some published anomalies, I don't think we know that they have any clear relationship to the assumed dates. It is also interesting that the points for isochrons are sometimes selected so as to obtain the isochron property, according to John Woodmorappe's paper. Do the various methods correlate with one another? We have been trying to give mechanisms that explain how the different dating methods can give dates that agree with one another, if the geologic column is young. But if there is a variation, such effects could help to explain it. It's not only a matter of incorporation in minerals either, as one sometimes does whole rock isochrons and I suppose parent-daughter ratios of whole rock, which would reflect the composition of the magma and not the incorporation into minerals.
These values may be attuned as an acronym of the very low abundance of these unions in the oval and platform of the Earth. It lemurs out that patience in dating is typically found in the album of information dioxide, with a realistic point of degrees centrigrade.
We all seem to have this image in our mind of the various dating methods agreeing with each other and also with the accepted Fossil dating wrong of their geologic periods. So we are investing a lot of time and energy to explain how this marvelous agreement of the various methods can arise in a creationist framework. The really funny thing to me is that it is very possible that we are trying to explain a phantom of our imagination. The real radiomatric dating methods are often very badly behaved, and often disagree with one Fossil dating wrong as well as with the assumed ages of their geological periods.
It would really be nice if geologists would just do a double blind study sometime to find out what the distributions of the ages are. In practice, geologists carefully select what rocks they will date, and have many explanations for discordant dates, so it's not clear how such a study could be done, but it might be a good project for creationists. There is also evidence that many anomalies are never reported. Concerning the geologic time scale, Brown writes: Maybe only 15 in all. It is possible that the Fossil dating wrong is that uranium-lead dates so rarely agree with the correct dates.
So there may not be anything to explain. For example, it's not clear to me that we need to worry about isochrons or whether U and U dates etc. I'd like to know how often this happens, in any case, especially on the geologic column of Cambrian and above. People should read John Woodmorappe's articles on radiometric dating to see some of the anomalies. One might say that if there were problems, then geologists wouldn't use these methods. I think we need something more solid than that. The correlation was not very good. I assume he would have mentioned if any others had been done. What we really need is the raw data on how these dates correlate, especially on the geologic column of Cambrian and above.
We need to see the data to know if there is really any need to explain anything away. Many anomalies never get published, according Fossil dating wrong John Woodmorappe's references; other quotes indicate that the various methods typically disagree with each other. A few years ago I took a course in the "Evolution of Desert Environments". We were standing on the Simi Volcanic flow, about 80 miles south of the south end of Death Valley. The instructor was a well known geologist and evolutionist from Cal. He told us that the upper end of the flow was dated atyears, the middle of the flow was dated at 50, years, and the toe of the flow was dated at 20, years.
He then noted that the whole flow probably occured and solidified the surface at least within weeks. He then said, based on his observation of the rates of evolution of desert environments he thought the flow was less than 10, years of age. He then said "radiometric dating is the cornerstone of modern historical geology and we get this kind of variation? He was also not happy with the published dates on the flows in the Nevada Atomic Bomb Test site where one of the volcanic flows showed a reversal of isotope ratios and gave a value of 20, years in the future! These data were, in fact, published in Science magazine in about November of Please note, these were not MY ideas but the statements of a convinced, tenured, evolutionary geologist who apparently really wanted to beleive in the credibility of radiometric dating.
I am just reporting what HE said! Thus, there apparently ARE some problems in that kind of radiometric dating. Jon Covey cited some references about this, and it will take a lot of work to understand what is going on from a creationist viewpoint. But this is another factor that could be causing trouble for radiometric dating. If there is a proof that this could not be so, then I have missed it. I would not want to use a scale that might be right and might be wrong. And I'm curious to see how discordia relate to the possibility of fractionation -- I did look into them at one time.
Biologists actually have at their disposal several independent ways of looking at the history of life - not only from the order of fossils in the rocks, but also through phylogenetic trees. Phylogenetic trees are the family trees of particular groups of plants or animals, showing how all the species relate to each other. Phylogenetic trees are drawn up mathematically, using lists of morphological external form or molecular gene sequence characters. Modern phylogenetic trees have no input from stratigraphy, so they can be used in a broad way to make comparisons between tree shape and stratigraphy. The majority of test cases show good agreement, so the fossil record tells the same story as the molecules enclosed in living organisms.
Accuracy of dating Dating in geology may be relative or absolute. Relative dating is done by observing fossils, as described above, and recording which fossil is younger, which is older. The discovery of means for absolute dating in the early s was a huge advance. The methods are all based on radioactive decay: Fossils may be dated by calculating the rate of decay of certain elements. Certain naturally occurring elements are radioactive, and they decay, or break down, at predictable rates. Chemists measure the half-life of such elements, i. Sometimes, one isotope, or naturally occurring form, of an element decays into another, more stable form of the same element.
By comparing the proportions of parent to daughter element in a rock sample, and knowing the half-life, the age can be calculated. Older fossils cannot be dated by carbon methods and require radiometric dating. Scientists can use different chemicals for absolute dating: The best-known absolute dating technique is carbon dating, which archaeologists prefer to use. However, the half-life of carbon is only years, so the method cannot be used for materials older than about 70, years. Subtle differences in the relative proportions of the two isotopes can give good dates for rocks of any age. Scientists can check their accuracy by using different isotopes. The first radiometric dates, generated aboutshowed that the Earth was hundreds of millions, or billions, of years old.
Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates. Age estimates can be cross-tested by using different isotope pairs. Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other. Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines. Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, but younger dates are stable.