Mount etna carbon dating basalt

Dr. Austin submitted the sample for radiometric dating to an independent laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The results came back dating the rock to.
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You'll also have 83 argon atoms, and calcium atoms. If I take a sample and measure an argon to potassium ratio of However, all of these numbers are probabilities, not absolutes. You need to have a statistically meaningful amount of argon before your result would be considered significant.


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Below about 10, years , potassium-argon results are not significant; there's not yet enough argon created. In addition, the initial amount of 40 K that you started with is never measured directly; instead, it is assumed to always be. This has a standard deviation, so it also contributes to the margin of error. So when my result says the sample was 2. The bell curve of probable age starts at about 1. So whether you call it an exact science or not is a matter of linguistics. Although the exact age can't be known, the probabilities can be exactly calculated.

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Austin's sample was known to have solidified in , its argon content was clearly well below the threshhold where an amount of argon sufficiently useful for dating could have been present. And even that threshhold applies to only the most sensitive detection equipment. Potassium-argon dating is done by destructively crushing and heating the sample and spectrally analyzing the resulting gases.

The equipment in use at the time at the lab employed by Dr. Austin, Geocron Laboratories , was of a type sensitive enough to only detect higher concentrations of argon gas. Geocron clearly stated that their equipment was only capable of accurate results when the sample contained a concentration of argon high enough to be consistent with 2,, years or older. And so, by any standard, it was scientifically meaningless for Dr. Austin to apply Geocron's potassium-argon dating to his sample of dacite known to be only six years old.

But let's ask the obvious question.

Radiometric Dating Does Work!

If there wasn't yet enough argon in the rock to be detectable, and the equipment that was used was not sensitive enough to detect any argon, how was enough argon found that such old results were returned? There are two possible reasons that the old dates were returned. The first has to do with the reason Geocron's equipment was considered useful only for high concentrations of argon.

There would always be a certain amount of argon inside the mass spectrometer left over from previous experiments.

Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution's Long-Ages Claim

If the sample being tested is old enough to have significant argon, this leftover contamination would be statistically insignificant; so this was OK for Geocron's normal purposes. But for a sample with little or no argon, it would produce a falsely old result. This was undoubtedly a factor in Dr.

The second possibility is that so-called "excess argon" could have become trapped in the Mount St. This is where we find the bulk of the confusing complexity in Austin's paper and in those of his critics. The papers all go into great detail describing the various ways that argon-containing compounds can be incorporated into magma. These include the occlusion of xenoliths and xenocrysts, which are basically contaminants from existing old rocks that get mixed in with the magma; and phenocrysts, which are crystals of all sorts of different minerals that form inside the rock in different ways depending on how quickly the magma cools.

Page after page of chemical compositions, mineral breakdowns, charts and graphs, and all sorts of discussion of practically every last molecule found in the Mount St. Summarizing both arguments, Dr. Austin claims that xenoliths and xenocrysts were completely removed from the samples before testing, and that the wrong results are due to phenocrysts, which form to varying degrees in all magma, and thus effectively cast doubt on all potassium-argon testing done throughout the world.

It's important to note that his arguments are cogent and are based on sound geology, and are often mischaracterized by skeptics. He did not simply use the wrong kind of radiometric dating as an ignorant blunder. He was deliberately trying to illustrate that even a brand-new rock would show an ancient age, even when potassium-argon dating was properly used. Austin's critics charge that he ignored the probable likelihood that the limitations of Geochron's equipment accounts for the results, just as Geochron warned. They also charge that he likely did not remove all the xenoliths and xenocrysts from his samples.

However, neither possibility can be known for sure. Certainly there is no doubt that the test was far outside the useful parameters of potassium-argon dating, but whereas critics say this invalidates the results, Austin concludes that his results certify that the test is universally useless. If we allow both sides to have their say, and do not bring a bias preconditioning us to accept whatever one side says and to look only for flaws in the other side, a fair conclusion to make is that both sides make valid points. Austin does indeed identify a real potential weakness in potassium-argon dating.

Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution

However he is wrong that his phenocrysts constitute a fatal flaw in potassium-argon dating previously unknown to geology. In fact, the implications of phenocrysts were already well understood. Yes they are one of the variables, and yes, in some samples they do push the error bars. However, the errors they introduce are in the range of a standard deviation, they are not nearly adequate to explain errors as gross as three or more orders of magnitude, which would be necessary to explain the discrepancy between the measured age of rocks and the Biblical age of the Earth.

Such variables are also a principal reason that geologists never rely on just one dating method, with no checks or balances. That would be pretty reckless. For most rocks, multiple types of radiometric dating are appropriate; and in practice, multiple samples would always be tested, not just one like Austin used. In combination, these tests give a far more complete and accurate picture of a rock's true age than just a single potassium-argon test could.

In addition, stratigraphic and paleomagnetic data can often contribute to the picture as well. From many decades of such experience, geologists have excellent data that guides proper usage of each of these tools, and they don't include gross misuse of potassium-argon dating. What Austin did was to exploit a known caveat in radiometric dating; dramatically illustrate it with a high-profile test using the public's favorite volcano, Mount St. The first is that each meteorite was dated by more than one laboratory — Allende by 2 laboratories, Guarena by 2 laboratories, and St Severin by four laboratories.

This pretty much eliminates any significant laboratory biases or any major analytical mistakes.


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The second thing is that some of the results have been repeated using the same technique, which is another check against analytical errors. The third is that all three meteorites were dated by more than one method — two methods each for Allende and Guarena, and four methods for St Severin. This is extremely powerful verification of the validity of both the theory and practice of radiometric dating. In the case of St Severin, for example, we have 4 different natural clocks actually 5, for the Pb-Pb method involves 2 different radioactive uranium isotopes , each running at a different rate and each using elements that respond to chemical and physical conditions in much different ways.

And yet, they all give the same result to within a few percent.

References & Further Reading

Is this a remarkable coincidence? Scientists have concluded that it is not; it is instead a consequence of the fact that radiometric dating actually works and works quite well. Creationists who wants to dispute the conclusion that primitive meteorites, and therefore the solar system, are about 4.

One of the most exciting and important scientific findings in decades was the discovery that a large asteroid, about 10 kilometers diameter, struck the earth at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

The collision threw many tons of debris into the atmosphere and possibly led to the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other life forms. The fallout from this enormous impact, including shocked quartz and high concentrations of the element iridium, has been found in sedimentary rocks at more than locations worldwide at the precise stratigraphic location of the Cretaceous-Tertiary K-T boundary Alvarez and Asaro ; Alvarez We now know that the impact site is located on the Yucatan Peninsula. Measuring the age of this impact event independently of the stratigraphic evidence is an obvious test for radiometric methods, and a number of scientists in laboratories around the world set to work.

In addition to shocked quartz grains and high concentrations of iridium, the K-T impact produced tektites, which are small glass spherules that form from rock that is instantaneously melted by a large impact. The K-T tektites were ejected into the atmosphere and deposited some distance away. Tektites are easily recognizable and form in no other way, so the discovery of a sedimentary bed the Beloc Formation in Haiti that contained tektites and that, from fossil evidence, coincided with the K-T boundary provided an obvious candidate for dating.

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Scientists from the US Geological Survey were the first to obtain radiometric ages for the tektites and laboratories in Berkeley, Stanford, Canada, and France soon followed suit. The results from all of the laboratories were remarkably consistent with the measured ages ranging only from Similar tektites were also found in Mexico, and the Berkeley lab found that they were the same age as the Haiti tektites.

The K-T boundary is recorded in numerous sedimentary beds around the world. Numerous thin beds of volcanic ash occur within these coals just centimeters above the K-T boundary, and some of these ash beds contain minerals that can be dated radiometrically. Since both the ash beds and the tektites occur either at or very near the K-T boundary, as determined by diagnostic fossils, the tektites and the ash beds should be very nearly the same age, and they are Table 2.

switarwalfoo.tk There are several important things to note about these results. First, the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods were defined by geologists in the early s. The boundary between these periods the K-T boundary is marked by an abrupt change in fossils found in sedimentary rocks worldwide. Its exact location in the stratigraphic column at any locality has nothing to do with radiometric dating — it is located by careful study of the fossils and the rocks that contain them, and nothing more.

Furthermore, the dating was done in 6 different laboratories and the materials were collected from 5 different locations in the Western Hemisphere.


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And yet the results are the same within analytical error. In the early afternoon of August 24, 79 CE, Mt Vesuvius erupted violently, sending hot ash flows speeding down its flanks. These flows buried and destroyed Pompeii and other nearby Roman cities. We know the exact day of this eruption because Pliny the Younger carefully recorded the event. They separated sanidine crystals from a sample of one of the ash flows. Incremental heating experiments on 12 samples of sanidine yielded 46 data points that resulted in an isochron age of 94 years. The actual age of the flow in was years.

Is this just a coincidence? No — it is the result of extremely careful analyses using a technique that works.