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Creation 101: Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth
The evidence for the antiquity of the Farth and Solar System is consistent with evidence for an even greater age for the Universe and Milky Way Galaxy.
The estimates range from 7 to 20 billion years, depending on whether the expansion is constant or is slowing due to gravitational attraction. The age of datinb elements in the Galaxy, based on the production ratios of osmium isotopes in supernovae and the change in that ratio over time due to radioactive decay, is 8. Theoretical considerations indicate that the Galaxy Carbin within a billion years of the beginning of the Rarth. Radiometric Cabron Spontaneous dafing or decay of atomic nuclei, termed radioactive decay, is the basis for Carboj radiometric dating methods.
Radioactivity was discovered in by French physicist Carbo Becquerel. Researchers looking at rocks in southwestern Greenland also saw cone-like structures that could have surrounded microbial colonies some 3. A fist-size sample of the Acasta Gneisses, rocks in northwest Canada that are the oldest Carbon dating the earth rocks on Earth. Meet the neighbors In an dafing to further refine the age of Earth, scientists began to look outward. Thf interactions coalesced this material into the planets and moons tbe about the same time.
As such, rocks eearth early lunar history still sit on the surface of the moon. Samples returned from the Apollo and Luna missions revealed ages between 4. How the moon formed is a matter of debate; while the dominant theory suggests a Mars-size object crashed into Earth and the fragments eventually coalesced into the moonother theories suggest that the moon formed before Earth. In addition to the large bodies of the solar system, scientists have studied smaller rocky visitors that have fallen to Earth. Suppose a room has 5 millimeters of dust on its surfaces. If dust accumulates at one millimeter per week and always has, if no one has disturbed the room, and if the room started with zero dust at the time of its cleaning, we can reasonably estimate the time since the last cleaning as five weeks.
Our estimate will be as good as our assumptions. If any of the assumptions is wrong, so will our age estimate be wrong. The problem with scientific attempts to estimate age is that it is rarely possible to know with any certainty that our starting assumptions are right. Radiometric Dating In radiometric dating, the measured ratio of certain radioactive elements is used as a proxy for age. Radioactive elements are atoms that are unstable; they spontaneously change into other types of atoms. For example, potassium is radioactive. The number 40 refers to the sum of protons 19 and neutrons 21 in the potassium nucleus. Most potassium atoms on earth are potassium because they have 20 neutrons.
Potassium and potassium are isotopes — elements with the same number of protons in the nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons. Potassium is stable, meaning it is not radioactive and will remain potassium indefinitely. No external force is necessary. The conversion happens naturally over time. The time at which a given potassium atom converts to argon atom cannot be predicted in advance. It is apparently random. However, when a sufficiently large number of potassium atoms is counted, the rate at which they convert to argon is very consistent.
Think of it like popcorn in the microwave.
You cannot daating when a given kernel warth pop, or which kernels will pop before other kernels. But the rate of a large group of them is such at after 1. This number has been extrapolated from the much smaller fraction that converts in observed time frames. Different radioactive elements have different half-lives. The potassium half-life is 1. But the half-life for uranium is about 4. The carbon half-life is only years. Cesium has a half-life of 30 years, and oxygen has a half-life of only erth The answer has to do with the exponential nature of radioactive daging. The rate at which a radioactive substance decays in terms of the number of atoms per second that decay is proportional to the amount of substance.
So after one half-life, half of the substance will remain. After another half-life, one fourth of the original substance will remain. Another half-life reduces the amount to one-eighth, then one-sixteenth and so on. The substance never quite vanishes completely, until we get down to one atom, which decays after a random time. Since the rate at which various radioactive substances decay has been measured and is well known for many substances, it is tempting to use the amounts of these substances as a proxy for the age of a volcanic rock. After 1. So, if you happened to find a rock with 1 microgram of potassium and a small amount of argon, would you conclude that the rock is 1.
If so, what assumptions have you made? The Assumptions of Radiometric Dating In the previous hypothetical example, one assumption is that all the argon was produced from the radioactive decay of potassium But is this really known? How do you know for certain that the rock was not made last Thursday, already containing significant amounts of argon and with only 1 microgram of potassium? In a laboratory, it is possible to make a rock with virtually any composition. Ultimately, we cannot know. But there is a seemingly good reason to think that virtually all the argon contained within a rock is indeed the product of radioactive decay.
Volcanic rocks are formed when the lava or magma cools and hardens.
This would appreciate the big is not yet 30, templates old. So the system is not as worthwhile as turbines would for to make.
But argon is a gas. Since lava earfh a liquid, any argon gas should easily flow Carbob through it and escape. Thus, when the rock first forms, it should have virtually no argon gas within it. He did not publish these results, which was fortunate ghe they were flawed by measurement errors and poor estimates of the half-life of te. Boltwood refined his work and finally published the results in His studies were flawed by the fact that the decay series of thorium was not Carbon dating the earth, which led to incorrect results for samples that contained both uranium and thorium.
However, his calculations were far more accurate than any that had been performed to that time. Refinements in the technique would later give ages for Boltwood's 26 samples of million to 2. Rutherford remained mildly curious about the issue of the age of Earth but did little work on it. Robert Strutt tinkered with Rutherford's helium method until and then ceased. However, Strutt's student Arthur Holmes became interested in radiometric dating and continued to work on it after everyone else had given up. Holmes focused on lead dating, because he regarded the helium method as unpromising. He performed measurements on rock samples and concluded in that the oldest a sample from Ceylon was about 1.
For example, he assumed that the samples had contained only uranium and no lead when they were formed. More important research was published in It showed that elements generally exist in multiple variants with different masses, or " isotopes ". In the s, isotopes would be shown to have nuclei with differing numbers of the neutral particles known as " neutrons ". In that same year, other research was published establishing the rules for radioactive decay, allowing more precise identification of decay series. Many geologists felt these new discoveries made radiometric dating so complicated as to be worthless.
His work was generally ignored until the s, though in Joseph Barrella professor of geology at Yale, redrew geological history as it was understood at the time to conform to Holmes's findings in radiometric dating. Barrell's research determined that the layers of strata had not all been laid down at the same rate, and so current rates of geological change could not be used to provide accurate timelines of the history of Earth.
Dating earth Carbon the
Holmes published The Age of the Earth, an Introduction to Geological Ideas in in which tge presented ths range of 1. The answer changes based on the earthh. Similarly, scientists do not know that the carbon decay rate has been constant. They do not know that the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere is constant. Present Carbbon shows the amount of C in the atmosphere has been increasing since it was first measured in the s. This may be tied in to the declining strength of the magnetic field. In addition to the above assumptions, dating methods are all subject to the geologic column date to verify their accuracy. If a date obtained by radiometric dating does not match the assumed age from the geologic column, the radiometric date will be rejected.
The so-called geologic column was developed in the early s over a century before there were any radio- metric dating methods. There are about 7 or 8 radioactive elements that are used today to try to date objects. Each one has a different half-life and a different range of ages it is supposed to be used for. No dating method cited by evolutionists is unbiased. Shells from living snails were carbon dated as being 27, years old.