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: First, an instance where a method fails to work does not imply that it does not ever work. The question is not whether there are “undatable” objects, but rather whether or not all objects cannot be dated by a given method. The fact that one wristwatch has failed to keep time properly cannot be used as a justification for discarding all watches.

## Uranium–lead dating

Pb-Pb Isochron Dating After Patterson, There are a number of useful isotope systems which constitute clocks in the rocks and are useful for geologic dating. But if asked what is the most reliable and precise method for dating the Earth and meteorites, Brent Dalyrymple would point to lead isochrons. He calls the lead method “the hourglass of the solar system”.

The current approach to plotting Pb-Pb isochrons is referred to as the Holmes-Houtermans method.

The lead-lead isochron method for determining the age of ancient rocks including meteorites is generally thought to be the most reliable and precise method for such dating. Dalrymple calls the lead method “the hourglass of the solar system”.

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.

## Holmes-Houtermans System for Lead Isochrons

Slowly and painstakingly, geologists have assembled this record into the generalized geologic time scale shown in Figure 1. This was done by observing the relative age sequence of rock units in a given area and determining, from stratigraphic relations, which rock units are younger, which are older, and what assemblages of fossils are contained in each unit. Using fossils to correlate from area to area, geologists have been able to work out a relative worldwide order of rock formations and to divide the rock record and geologic time into the eras, periods, and epochs shown in Figure 1.

The last modification to the geologic time scale of Figure 1 was in the s, before radiometric dating was fully developed, when the Oligocene Epoch was inserted between the Eocene and the Miocene.

Now, compounds of uranium are often highly soluble in water (this, indeed, is one of the major problems with U-Pb isochron dating) whereas compounds of lead are stubbornly insoluble. As a result, we expect speleothems when they are first formed to contain some uranium but little or no lead — just like zircons.

The isotopes[ edit ] There are a number of isotopes of interest in U-Pb dating. It has a half-life of 4. It is also useful to know of the existence of Pb lead , which is neither unstable nor radiogenic. Isochron dating and U-Pb[ edit ] We can always try U-Pb dating using the isochron method , but this often doesn’t work: There seem to be two reasons for this. First of all, the straight-line property of the isochron diagram is destroyed when the isotopes involved get shuffled between minerals.

Now lead and uranium are particularly susceptible to such shuffling in the event of even mild metamorphism. The other problem is that uranium is particularly susceptible to weathering.

## How Old is the Earth

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:

People who ask about carbon (14 C) 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.

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? Christians , by definition, take the statements of Jesus Christ seriously. This only makes sense with a time-line beginning with the creation week thousands of years ago. It makes no sense at all if man appeared at the end of billions of years.

We will deal with carbon dating first and then with the other dating methods.

## The Age of the Earth

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.

Isochron Lines. The standard way for rubidium-strontium dating, samarium-neodymium dating, lutetium-hafnium dating, potassium-calcium dating, and uranium-lead dating, to name a few dating methods, is to assume isotopic homogenization, or complete mixing.

Decay routes[ edit ] The above uranium to lead decay routes occur via a series of alpha and beta decays, in which U with daughter nuclides undergo total eight alpha and six beta decays whereas U with daughters only experience seven alpha and four beta decays. The term U—Pb dating normally implies the coupled use of both decay schemes in the ‘concordia diagram’ see below. However, use of a single decay scheme usually U to Pb leads to the U—Pb isochron dating method, analogous to the rubidium—strontium dating method.

Finally, ages can also be determined from the U—Pb system by analysis of Pb isotope ratios alone. This is termed the lead—lead dating method. Clair Cameron Patterson , an American geochemist who pioneered studies of uranium—lead radiometric dating methods, is famous for having used it to obtain one of the earliest estimates of the age of the Earth. Mineralogy[ edit ] Although zircon ZrSiO4 is most commonly used, other minerals such as monazite see: Where crystals such as zircon with uranium and thorium inclusions do not occur, a better, more inclusive, model of the data must be applied.

## The Age of the Earth

In order to be used as a natural clock to calculate the age of the earth, the processes generating lead isotopes must meet the four conditions of a natural clock: Dalrymple cites examples of lead isotope dating that give an age for the earth of about 4. Lead isotopes are important because two different lead isotopes Pb and Pb are produced from the decay series of two different uranium isotopes U and U. Since both decay series contain a unique set of intermediate radioactive isotopes, and because each has its own half-life, independent age calculations can be made from each Dalrymple The presence of a stable lead isotope that is not the product of any decay series Pb allows lead isotopes to be normalized, allowing for the use of isochrons and concordia-discordia diagrams as dating tools.

Two other characteristics of lead isotope measurements make it superior to other methods.

Uranium–lead dating, abbreviated U–Pb dating, is one of the oldest and most refined of the radiometric dating schemes. It can be used to date rocks that formed and crystallised from about 1 million years to over billion years ago with routine precisions in the –1 percent range.

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.

## The Age of the Earth

Paul Giem Abstract The isochron method of dating is used in multiple radiometric dating systems. An explanation of the method and its rationale are given. Mixing lines, an alternative explanation for apparent isochron lines are explained. Mixing lines do not require significant amounts of time to form. Possible ways of distinguishing mixing lines from isochron lines are explored, including believability, concordance with the geological time scale or other radiometric dates, the presence or absence of mixing hyperbolae, and the believability of daughter and reference isotope homogenization.

Although this point cannot be determined, the isochron will rotate about it as the rock ages because the initial amount of lead is constant regardless of age. An example isochron from Dalrymple () is shown in Figure below. The slope of the line gives the age of the rock.

Holmes-Houtermans System for Lead Isochrons The lead-lead isochron method for determining the age of ancient rocks including meteorites is generally thought to be the most reliable and precise method for such dating. Dalrymple calls the lead method “the hourglass of the solar system”. Many years of painstaking research has gone into establishing what is commonly called the Holmes-Houtermans System.

The two series proceed to different final lead isotopes: Different growth curves are formed with different amounts of U in the mineral at the time of crystallization. But the points on the different growth curves of the mineral constituents of an undisturbed rock will lie along a straight line, an “isochron”. The slope of this isochron is a measure of the time T since the crystallization or formation of the rock from a melted state. In a molten state, the different isotopes would have formed an equilibrium mixture because they are chemically identical.

The development of the Holmes-Houtermans approach follows the basics of radioactive decay acting as a clock. Even though the decay of U to Pb goes through about 14 steps, it all eventually reaches that endpoint and may be reasonably characterized by an effective halflife of 4. Since the present values of uranium and lead are measured, it is customary to let the clock run backward and model the process as an exponential increase of uranium.

Since the Pb is used as a standard, all quantities are expressed as ratios to the Pb content. A growth curve for the Pb can then be developed, based on the experimental U content.

## How Old is the Earth

As evident by the equation, initial Pb isotope ratios, as well as the age of the system are the two factors which determine the present day Pb isotope compositions. This was first established by Nier et al. The Pb ratios of three stony and two iron meteorites were measured. By dating meteorites Patterson was directly dating the age of various planetesimals. As planetesimals collided, various fragments were scattered and produced meteorites.

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 .

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