Unreliability of Radiometric Dating and Old Age of the Earth

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Clocks in the Rocks

Landsat Image provided by Ronald W. Lunar and Planetary Science XX, pp. Impact evidence from Massignano, Arcona. Dense fluid inclusions and their petrological significance abstract. Russian , Mineralogicheskii Zhurnal, v. International Geology Review, v.

Although the unreliability of the Rb-Sr method for dating is readily demonstrated, it is important that alternative models are developed to explain the observed patterns of strontium isotopes. It has been known for several decades that the lighter elements (notably carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and.

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. Calculating the age[ edit ] The age of a sample is determined by analysing several minerals within the sample. If these form a straight line then the samples are consistent, and the age probably reliable.

The slope of the line dictates the age of the sample. Several preconditions must be satisfied before a Rb-Sr date can be considered as representing the time of emplacement or formation of a rock. Rb and Sr are relatively mobile alkaline elements and as such are relatively easily moved around by the hot, often carbonated hydrothermal fluids present during metamorphism or magmatism.

Conversely, these fluids may metasomatically alter a rock, introducing new Rb and Sr into the rock generally during potassic alteration or calcic albitisation alteration. Rb-Sr can then be used on the altered mineralogy to date the time of this alteration, but not the date at which the rock formed. Thus, assigning age significance to a result requires studying the metasomatic and thermal history of the rock, any metamorphic events, and any evidence of fluid movement.

Radiometric dating

Please visit Site Map and Disclaimer. Use “Back” to return here. Rubidium 87 decays to Strontium 87 with a half life of xx my. Rubidium and strontium are reasonably abundant and the decay is not branched, unlike potassium-argon.

There are three isotopes used in Rb-Sr dating. 87 Rb (rubidium) is an unstable isotope with a half-life of about 49 billion years. It produces the stable daughter isotope 87 .

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.

Isochron Dating

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.

Rb–Sr dating is based on the radioactive decay of the isotope Rb (that today accounts for ~28 % of all rubidium) to Sr (~7 % of all strontium, Table 1) by beta decay, i.e., the emission of an electron.

While there are numerous natural processes that can serve as clocks, there are also many natural processes that can reset or scramble these time-dependent processes and introduce uncertainties. To try to set a reasonable bound on the age, we could presume that the Earth formed at the same time as the rest of the solar system. If the small masses that become meteorites are part of that system, then a measurement of the solidification time of those meteorites gives an estimate of the age of the Earth.

The following illustration points to a scenario for developing such an age estimate. Some of the progress in finding very old samples of rock on the Earth are summarized in the following comments. It is a compound of zirconium, silicon and oxygen which in its colorless form is used to make brilliant gems. Samples more than 3.

Older ages in the neighborhood of 4. The graph below follows the treatment of Krane of Rb-Sr studies of meteorite samples from Wetherill in order to show the nature of the calculation of age from isochrons. Considering the relative scale of nuclei and atoms , nuclei are so remote from the outer edge of the atoms that no environmental factors affect them.

Age of the Earth: strengths and weaknesses of dating methods

Rb—Sr geochronology Definition Parent—daughter ratio: The ratio of rubidium Rb to strontium Sr. The daughter nuclide Sr is represented by Sr , which is stable and not subject to radiogenic ingrowth and constitutes approximately 9.

Dr. Steve Austin dated the Grand Canyon Cardenas Basalt at between ± and ± billion years using the Rb-Sr isochron dating model.

Manicouagan crater, Quebec, Canada is visible in the background. Exhumed paleoplains of the Precambrian shield of North America. American Journal of Science, , — The viscous flow behavior of diaplectic glass and fusion-formed glass: A Comparitive study on shocked anorthosite from Manicouagan crater, Canada. Diaplectic glass and fusion-formed glass: Comparative studies on shocked anorthosite from Manicouagan crater, Canada.

Diaplectic labradorite glass from the Manicouagan impact crater. Physical properties, crystallization, structural and genetic implications. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, 8, — On the distribution of iridium in the rocks of terrestrial impact craters in Russian.

Rubidium/Strontium Dating of Meteorites

To conduct radioisotope dating, scientists evaluate the concentration of isotopes in a material. The number of protons in an atom determines which element it is, while the number of neutrons determines which isotope it is. For example, strontium has 38 protons and 48 neutrons, whereas strontium has 38 protons and 49 neutrons.

Rubidium/Strontium Dating of Meteorites. The study of the rubidium/strontium isotopic ratios in a set of meteorite samples shows the general approach to this kind of radioactive dating. The isotope 87 Rb decays into the ground state of 87 Sr with a half-life of x .

Updated 8 January c Introduction In a related article on geologic ages Ages , we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages. In a separate article Radiometric dating , we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques. As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.

Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades. The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples. Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data after certain preliminary calculations are made are fitted to a straight line an “isochron” by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.

The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date. Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating. Here is one example of an isochron, based on measurements of basaltic meteorites in this case the resulting date is 4. Reliability of radiometric dating So, are radiometric methods foolproof?

Just how reliable are these dates? As with any experimental procedure in any field of science, these measurements are subject to certain “glitches” and “anomalies,” as noted in the literature. Skeptics of old-earth geology make great hay of these examples.

Datazione radiometrica

Several Christian ministries promote the idea that the earth is less than 10, years old, which they say comes from the Bible. In reality, the Bible makes no claim as to the age of the earth, although it does establish a minimum age. This page examines some of the history of the controversy—what the Bible actually says and does not say—and the scientific evidence surrounding the age of the earth. Age of the earth according to the Bible The following is a summary of the biblical evidence presented on this website regarding the age of the earth.

For more detailed explanations of each topic, please click on the associated link. History of the age of the earth As indicated earlier, the Bible does not fix the age of the earth, contrary to the claims of Answers in Genesis.

The oldest ages obtained from the Rb/Sr method can be taken as one indicator of the age of the earth. The isotope 87 Rb decays into the ground state of 87 Sr with a half-life of x 10 10 years and a maximum β – energy of keV.

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Script of R to the Rb/Sr system