The Age of the Earth

The Age of the Earth

Radioactive isotopes have a variety of applications. Generally, however, they are useful either because we can detect their radioactivity or we can use the energy they release. Radioactive isotopes are effective tracers because their radioactivity is easy to detect. A tracer A substance that can be used to follow the pathway of that substance through some structure. For instance, leaks in underground water pipes can be discovered by running some tritium-containing water through the pipes and then using a Geiger counter to locate any radioactive tritium subsequently present in the ground around the pipes. Recall that tritium, 3H, is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Tracers can also be used to follow the steps of a complex chemical reaction. After incorporating radioactive atoms into reactant molecules, scientists can track where the atoms go by following their radioactivity. One excellent example of this is the use of radioactive carbon to determine the steps involved in the photosynthesis in plants.

Answers to Creationist Attacks on Carbon-14 Dating

See this page in: Hungarian , Russian , Spanish People who ask about carbon 14C dating usually want to know about the radiometric [1] dating methods that are claimed to give millions and billions of years—carbon dating can only give thousands of years. People wonder how millions of years could be squeezed into the biblical account of history. Clearly, such huge time periods cannot be fitted into the Bible without compromising what the Bible says about the goodness of God and the origin of sin, death and suffering —the reason Jesus came into the world See Six Days?

Radiometric Dating Activity _____ Teacher Notes: This hands-on activity is a simulation of some of the radiometric dating techniques used by scientists to For example, Uranium (parent isotope) decays to thorium Each Subtle differences in the relative proportions of the two isotopes can give good dates for rocks of any age. 4.

These formations may have resulted from carcass burial in an anoxic environment with minimal bacteria, thus slowing decomposition. Stromatolites Lower Proterozoic Stromatolites from Bolivia , South America Stromatolites are layered accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms of microorganisms , especially cyanobacteria.

While older, Archean fossil remains are presumed to be colonies of cyanobacteria , younger that is, Proterozoic fossils may be primordial forms of the eukaryote chlorophytes that is, green algae. One genus of stromatolite very common in the geologic record is Collenia. The earliest stromatolite of confirmed microbial origin dates to 2.

The most widely supported explanation is that stromatolite builders fell victims to grazing creatures the Cambrian substrate revolution , implying that sufficiently complex organisms were common over 1 billion years ago.

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Coastline at 10 ka BP is indicated by a solid line, present day coast by an interrupted line. Geological map with the location of the La Madeleine site white dot. While the identification of the source of shells used as personal ornaments is crucial for determining home range and exchange networks of prehistoric hunter-gatherers, it is often difficult to identify the coastal versus fossil origin of the shells as most genera used as beads were available both at beaches and fossil outcrops.

We analysed four out of a collection of one thousand Dentalium shells associated to the La Madeleine child burial dated to and one Dentalium from the occupation layers of this site.

cardon by the use of carbon dating which is a process in which they use the half life of carbon to calculate the date of an object.

For millennia, humans assumed that the Earth was about as old as we were. The “begats” in the Bible were another source for estimates: In the 17th century, Ireland’s Archbishop James Ussher reconstructed the genealogy of biblical figures and declared that Earth was created at 6 p. Scientists now know the Earth is actually 4. The modern effort to understand the age of the planet started with Nicholas Steno , a Danish anatomist and geologist who was among the first to realize that fossils are the remains of living creatures.

Where do old spacecraft go when they die? Not only was the Earth not young, but it was not static, Hutton said. Others looked at the average rate of sedimentation and concluded it would take anywhere from 3 million to 1. Why do we love our pets? Here’s how that works:

La Madeleine – a rock shelter in the Dordogne with exquisite art objects from the Magdalenian

Therefore it should come as no surprise that creationists at the Institute for Creation Research ICR have been trying desperately to discredit this method for years. They have their work cut out for them, however, because radiocarbon C dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods. This article will answer several of the most common creationist attacks on carbon dating, using the question-answer format that has proved so useful to lecturers and debaters.

How does carbon dating work? Cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere are constantly converting the isotope nitrogen N into carbon C or radiocarbon. Living organisms are constantly incorporating this C into their bodies along with other carbon isotopes.

Carbon, uranium, and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating. Each element is made up of atoms, and within each atom is a central particle called a nucleus.

The Nucleus of an Atom Isotope Isotopes are different “versions” of an element. All atoms of an element have the same number of protons. For example, all hydrogen atoms have one proton, all carbon atoms have 6 protons, and all uranium atoms have 92 protons. However, atoms of an element can have different numbers of neutrons. Scientists use special “codes” to write the names of isotopes. One isotope of carbon has 8 neutrons.

The “code” for this isotope is carbon or 14C.

Radioactive 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.

Radiocarbon dating – An absolute dating technique used to determine the age of organic materials less than 50, years old. Age is determined by examining the loss of the unstable carbon isotope, which is absorbed by all living organisms during their lifespan.

Religious texts and geological evidence suggest that several parts of the world have experienced destructive atomic blasts in ages past The following item appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on February 16, and was repeated by Ivan T. Sanderson in the January issue of his magazine, Pursuit: When the first atomic bomb exploded in New Mexico, the desert sand turned to fused green glass.

This fact, according to the magazine Free World, has given certain archaeologists a turn. They have been digging in the ancient Euphrates Valley and have uncovered a layer of agrarian culture 8, years old, and a layer of herdsman culture much older, and a still older caveman culture. Recently, they reached another layer of fused green glass. It is well known that atomic detonations on or above a sandy desert will melt the silicon in the sand and turn the surface of the Earth into a sheet of glass.

But if sheets of ancient desert glass can be found in various parts of the world, does it mean that atomic wars were fought in the ancient past or, at the very least, that atomic testing occurred in the dim ages of history? This is a startling theory, but one that is not lacking in evidence, as such ancient sheets of desert glass are a geological fact. Lightning strikes can sometimes fuse sand, meteorologists contend, but this is always in a distinctive root-like pattern.

These strange geological oddities are called fulgurites and manifest as branched tubular forms rather than as flat sheets of fused sand. Therefore, lightning is largely ruled out as the cause of such finds by geologists, who prefer to hold onto the theory of a meteor or comet strike as the cause. The problem with this theory is that there is usually no crater associated with these anomalous sheets of glass. Hart, one of the first engineers to graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was assigned an engineering project in the interior of Africa.

Age of the earth

Reference to a case where the given method did not work This is perhaps the most common objection of all. Creationists point to instances where a given method produced a result that is clearly wrong, and then argue that therefore all such dates may be ignored. Such an argument fails on two counts:

As an example, the potassium isotope (which contains 19 protons, 40 nucleons, and is represented by the atomic symbol K) will change into the argon isotope (which contains 18 protons, 40 nucleons, and is represented by the symbol Ar).

Constitutional Convention Energy states of real diatomic molecules For any real molecule, absolute separation of the different motions is seldom encountered since molecules are simultaneously undergoing rotation and vibration. Chemical bonds are neither rigid nor perfect harmonic oscillators, however, and all molecules in a given collection do not possess identical rotational, vibrational, and electronic energies but will be distributed among the available energy states in accordance with the principle known as the Boltzmann distribution.

As a molecule undergoes vibrational motion, the bond length will oscillate about an average internuclear separation. If the oscillation is harmonic, this average value will not change as the vibrational state of the molecule changes; however, for real molecules the oscillations are anharmonic. The potential for the oscillation of a molecule is the electronic energy plotted as a function of internuclear separation Figure 7A.

Because this curve is nonparabolic, the oscillations are anharmonic and the energy levels are perturbed. The nonrigidity of the chemical bond in the molecule as it goes to higher rotational states leads to centrifugal distortion; in diatomic molecules this results in the stretching of the bonds, which increases the moment of inertia. The total of these effects can be expressed in the form of an expanded energy expression for the rotational-vibrational energy of the diatomic molecule; for further discussion, see the texts listed below.

A molecule in a given electronic state will simultaneously possess discrete amounts of rotational and vibrational energies. For a collection of molecules they will be spread out into a large number of rotational and vibrational energy states so any electronic state change electronic transition will be accompanied by changes in both rotational and vibrational energies in accordance with the proper selection rules.

Thus any observed electronic transition will consist of a large number of closely spaced members owing to the vibrational and rotational energy changes.


See some updates to this article. We now consider in more detail one of the problems with potassium-argon dating, namely, the branching ratio problem. Here is some relevant information that was e-mailed to me. There are some very serious objections to using the potassium-argon decay family as a radiometric clock.

Carbon dating only works for organic objects up to 50, years old. It compares the ratio of 14 C to 12 C found in today’s atmosphere to the ratio in the object to be dated. While alive, a living thing has the same ratio of 14 C to 12 C as in the air.

Radiometric Dating Does Work! Radiometric dating of rocks and minerals using naturally occurring, long-lived radioactive isotopes is troublesome for young-earth creationists because the techniques have provided overwhelming evidence of the antiquity of the earth and life. Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds for example, Arndts and Overn ; Gill but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws see Dalrymple ; York and Dalrymple Other creationists have focused on instances in which radiometric dating seems to yield incorrect results.

In most instances, these efforts are flawed because the authors have misunderstood or misrepresented the data they attempt to analyze for example, Woodmorappe ; Morris HM ; Morris JD Only rarely does a creationist actually find an incorrect radiometric result Austin ; Rugg and Austin that has not already been revealed and discussed in the scientific literature. The creationist approach of focusing on examples where radiometric dating yields incorrect results is a curious one for two reasons.

First, it provides no evidence whatsoever to support their claim that the earth is very young. If the earth were only —10 years old, then surely there should be some scientific evidence to confirm that hypothesis; yet the creationists have produced not a shred of it so far. Where are the data and age calculations that result in a consistent set of ages for all rocks on earth, as well as those from the moon and the meteorites, no greater than 10 years?

Glaringly absent, it seems. Second, it is an approach doomed to failure at the outset. Creationists seem to think that a few examples of incorrect radiometric ages invalidate all of the results of radiometric dating, but such a conclusion is illogical.

Isotopes used in dating old objects

Isotopes Commonly used for Radiometric Isotoppes. Scientists use Carbon dating for telling the age of an old object, Isotopes are atoms of the same element, The Carbon Dating of Iron. Isotopes dating old objects For instance, carbon has a half-life of 5, years. A detailed description isotopfs radiocarbon dating is available at the Wikipedia radiocarbon dating web page.

Year old sedimentary rock will dissolve.

Radiometric Dating 1. Name the three kinds of strength used to characterize materials AND give an example of a material that are strong in each of these modes. 2. What kinds of bonding occurs in each of the three materials you listed in question #1? 3.

Then, on October 6, , Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the Geneva Observatory announced the first definitive detection of an exoplanet orbiting an ordinary main-sequence star 51 Pegasi. Many known extrasolar planets are many times the mass of Jupiter, approaching that of stellar objects known as brown dwarfs. Brown dwarfs are generally considered stars due to their ability to fuse deuterium , a heavier isotope of hydrogen.

Although objects more massive than 75 times that of Jupiter fuse hydrogen, objects of only 13 Jupiter masses can fuse deuterium. Deuterium is quite rare, and most brown dwarfs would have ceased fusing deuterium long before their discovery, making them effectively indistinguishable from supermassive planets. There were particular disagreements over whether an object should be considered a planet if it was part of a distinct population such as a belt , or if it was large enough to generate energy by the thermonuclear fusion of deuterium.

A growing number of astronomers argued for Pluto to be declassified as a planet, because many similar objects approaching its size had been found in the same region of the Solar System the Kuiper belt during the s and early s. Pluto was found to be just one small body in a population of thousands. Some of them, such as Quaoar , Sedna , and Eris , were heralded in the popular press as the tenth planet , failing to receive widespread scientific recognition.

Acknowledging the problem, the IAU set about creating the definition of planet , and produced one in August The number of planets dropped to the eight significantly larger bodies that had cleared their orbit Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune , and a new class of dwarf planets was created, initially containing three objects Ceres , Pluto and Eris.

How accurate are Carbon-14 and other radioactive dating methods?

The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles. Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon. At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.

When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon

In another interesting example of radioactive dating, 3 H dating has been used to verify the stated vintages of some old fine wines. Carbon (half-life is 5, y) is particularly useful in determining the age of once-living artifacts (e.g., animal or plant matter).

Sabine De Brabandere, Ph. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed. How Old Is That Rock? That is what we encounter in our daily lives, right? The Earth orbits the Sun in about one year’s time, the Earth rotates on its axis every 24 hours, 60 ticks of the second hand on a clock indicates 1 minute has passed. Geologists have a much harder job keeping track of time.

Studying the Earth and its evolution, they work with time scales of thousands to billions of years.

How Does Radiocarbon Dating Work? – Instant Egghead #28

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