How Old is the Earth

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.

The Age of the Earth

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.

The Planetary and Space Science Centre (PASSC) opened in April, and was the first facility of its kind in Canada.

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.

Palaeos: Main Glossary

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.

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.

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. This is measured directly. Porig – The quantity of the parent isotope that was originally present.

This is computed from the current quantity of parent isotope plus the accumulated quantity of daughter isotope. Standard values are used, based on direct measurements. Solving the equation for “age,” and incorporating the computation of the original quantity of parent isotope, we get: Potential problems for generic dating Some assumptions have been made in the discussion of generic dating, for the sake of keeping the computation simple.

Such assumptions will not always be accurate in the real world. The amount of daughter isotope at the time of formation of the sample is zero or known independently and can be compensated for. No parent isotope or daughter isotope has entered or left the sample since its time of formation.

Recent Advances in Understanding the Geology of Diamonds

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. It measures the time elapsed since death, but is limited in scale to no more than about 50, years ago.

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.

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.

Accuracy of Fossils and Dating Methods

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.

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. So how precise do we need elevation measurements to be? Basically, the point of all this is that we would like to be able to measure elevations with better than 10 m precision.

Preferably quite a lot better. Note, however, that this condition dates back only to approximately the year Prior to that time, the GPS satellite network, which of course was operated by the U.

Radiometric dating

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.

1. Introduction. The publication of the SEASAT satellite-derived gravity map of the world’s oceans in the mid s, with resolution of ~ 60 km and greater, by Haxby revealed for the first time the global fabric of plate tectonics, and resulted in a major advance in our understanding of Earth processes.

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.

Rubidium–strontium dating

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.

Radiometric dating or radioactive dating is a technique used to date materials such as rocks or carbon, in which trace radioactive impurities were selectively incorporated when they were formed. The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.

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. This article reviews current thinking of where, how, when, and why natural diamonds form. Analytical advances, improved geologic knowledge, and the emergence of new diamond-producing regions such as the Slave craton of Canada have all contributed to this change. The most prized specimens for research are flawed with visible inclusions figure 2 , for these carry actual samples of mantle minerals from depths as great as km beneath the surface.

Diamond provides the perfect container for mantle minerals, isolating them from the high pressure and temperature reactions within the earth for geologic time scales. Even low elemental concentrations and minute features in diamond can now be analyzed using instruments with higher sensitivity and resolution. As a result, study combining the inclusion and its diamond host is a powerful tool for geologic research, which itself has improved our understanding of diamond formation.

These photos show inclusions of silicate minerals in natural diamond whose background reflectivity has been enhanced by faceting:

Isochron Dating

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.

Examines the last two decades’ advances in analyzing and understanding the formation of natural diamonds, and their relation to the earth’s formation.

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.

However, this causes a problem for those who believe based on the Bible that life has only existed on the earth for a few thousand years, since fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be over million years old by radiometric methods, and some fossils are found in rocks that are dated to be billions of years old. If these dates are correct, this calls the Biblical account of a recent creation of life into question. After study and discussion of this question, I now believe that the claimed accuracy of radiometric dating methods is a result of a great misunderstanding of the data, and that the various methods hardly ever agree with each other, and often do not agree with the assumed ages of the rocks in which they are found.

I believe that there is a great need for this information to be made known, so I am making this article available in the hopes that it will enlighten others who are considering these questions.

This thing all things devours: Birds, beasts, trees, flowers; Grinds hard stones to meal; Slays kings, ruins town, And beats high mountain down. This riddle exemplifies how time normally results in decay and destruction. So, why are people so interested in the topic of time? Perhaps the biggest reason is because of evil: Humans have a limited lifespan to get things done, so we try to synchronize schedules in order not to waste time.

The slope of the line is the ratio of enriched D to remaining can be used in place of “D now /P now” in the decay laneous notes. Age “uncertainty” When a “simple” dating method is performed, the result is a single number.

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. Dating simple igneous rocks The rubidium—strontium pair is ideally suited for the isochron dating of igneous rocks.

As a liquid rock cools, first one mineral and then another achieves saturation and precipitates, each extracting specific elements in the process. Strontium is extracted in many minerals that are formed early, whereas rubidium is gradually concentrated in the final liquid phase. In practice, rock samples weighing several kilograms each are collected from a suite of rocks that are believed to have been part of a single homogeneous liquid prior to solidification.

Presentation 5 : Radiometric Dating – Part 1