Acknowledgements Introduction his document discusses the way radiometric dating and stratigraphic principles are used to establish the conventional geological time scale. It is not about the theory behind radiometric dating methods, it is about their application, and it therefore assumes the reader has some familiarity with the technique already refer to “Other Sources” for more information. As an example of how they are used, radiometric dates from geologically simple, fossiliferous Cretaceous rocks in western North America are compared to the geological time scale. To get to that point, there is also a historical discussion and description of non-radiometric dating methods. A common form of criticism is to cite geologically complicated situations where the application of radiometric dating is very challenging. These are often characterised as the norm, rather than the exception. I thought it would be useful to present an example where the geology is simple, and unsurprisingly, the method does work well, to show the quality of data that would have to be invalidated before a major revision of the geologic time scale could be accepted by conventional scientists. Geochronologists do not claim that radiometric dating is foolproof no scientific method is , but it does work reliably for most samples. It is these highly consistent and reliable samples, rather than the tricky ones, that have to be falsified for “young Earth” theories to have any scientific plausibility, not to mention the need to falsify huge amounts of evidence from other techniques. This document is partly based on a prior posting composed in reply to Ted Holden.
Departures from this assumption are quite common, particularly in areas of complex geological history, but such departures can provide useful information that is of value in elucidating thermal histories. A deficiency of 40 Ar in a sample of a known age can indicate a full or partial melt in the thermal history of the area. Reliability in the dating of a geological feature is increased by sampling disparate areas which have been subjected to slightly different thermal histories.
Ar—Ar dating is a similar technique which compares isotopic ratios from the same portion of the sample to avoid this problem. Applications[ edit ] Due to the long half-life , the technique is most applicable for dating minerals and rocks more than , years old. For shorter timescales, it is unlikely that enough 40 Ar will have had time to accumulate in order to be accurately measurable.
As a foreign woman with a Chinese husband, I couldn’t help but wonder why we’re so rare. When I’m in China, I tend to turn a lot of heads, especially in the countryside — and that’s not just because I’m a .
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.
How Old is the Earth: Scientific Age of the Earth
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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.
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My purpose here is not to review and discuss all of the dating methods in use. Instead, I describe briefly only the three principal methods. These are the K-Ar, Rb-Sr, and U-Pb methods.
If you go to any major city in China, you will invariably run into the foreign man-Chinese woman pairings in any major tourist or shopping destination; not so with foreign women and Chinese men. There are hardly enough books depicting foreign women with Chinese boyfriends or husbands. West Wind Buck, Pearl S. Oriental Novels of Pearl S. Several years ago, when my husband enrolled in a New Oriental class in Shanghai for GRE prep, the instructor warned all of the Chinese men: When you have a Chinese husband or boyfriend, sometimes you feel as if you belong to a lonely club.
One of my dearest e-mail friends, a woman from Germany, once found me on the net because she had a — then — Chinese boyfriend and yearned to find someone to share her experience with. So I began to wonder — why are there so few Chinese guys and foreign girls becoming couples? Of course, some of it has its roots in the usual stereotypes — stereotypes in the Western World. Rarely have they been depicted with traditionally masculine traits.
Lacking machismo, they almost never get the girl. However, the subtext is often that foreign women are a dangerous choice — too casual, the temptress, etc — or could not accept a Chinese way of life. Generally, the pressure to split up comes from the family since, after all, in China, marriage is a family affair. There was one Chinese boyfriend who told me, flat out, that his parents would never accept me.
On the Rarity of Foreign Women and Chinese Boyfriends/Chinese Husbands
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Space-filling model of argon fluorohydride Argon’s complete octet of electrons indicates full s and p subshells. This full valence shell makes argon very stable and extremely resistant to bonding with other elements. Before , argon and the other noble gases were considered to be chemically inert and unable to form compounds; however, compounds of the heavier noble gases have since been synthesized.
The first argon compound with tungsten pentacarbonyl, W CO 5Ar, was isolated in However it was not widely recognised at that time. This discovery caused the recognition that argon could form weakly bound compounds, even though it was not the first. It forms at pressures between 4.
Everything Worth Knowing About Scientific Dating Methods This dating scene is dead. The good dates are confirmed using at least two different methods, ideally involving multiple independent labs for each method to cross-check results.
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Carbon 14 is used for this example: This nullifies the carbon method as well as demonstrating that the earth is less than 10, years old. The above is offered as a simple fact of research. Knowing how faulty creationist “facts” can be, let’s do a little research of our own. One suspects that the scientific world would not be using the carbon method if it were so obviously flawed.
Could it be that the whole scientific community has missed this point, or is it another case of creationist daydreaming? This argument was popularized by Henry Morris , p. In another creationist, Robert L. Whitelaw, using a greater ratio of carbon production to decay, concluded that only years passed since carbon started forming in the atmosphere! The argument may be compared to filling a barrel which has numerous small holes in its sides.
We stick the garden hose in and turn it on full blast. The water coming out of the hose is analogous to the continuous production of carbon atoms in the upper atmosphere. The barrel represents the earth’s atmosphere in which the carbon accumulates. The water leaking out the sides of the barrel represents the loss mainly by radioactive decay of the atmosphere’s supply of carbon
Solid argon at its melting point The violet glow of ionized argon gas in a discharge tube. In practice water vapor is also present. A faint line from argon shows in the spectrum of the doomed star Eta Carinae.
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. Woodmorappe does not mention that the experiments in this study were designed such that the anomalous results were evident, the cause of the anomalous results was discovered, and the crystallization ages of the Liberian dikes were unambiguously determined.
The Liberian study is, in fact, an excellent example of how geochronologists design experiments so that the results can be checked and verified. The final example listed in Table 2 is a supposed 34 billion-year Rb-Sr isochron age on diabase of the Pahrump Group from Panamint Valley, California, and is referenced to a book by Faure and Powell