Radiocarbon dating sample problems of acceleration

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radiocarbon dating sample problems of acceleration

Radiometric dating breakthroughs by Carl Wieland A few years ago, some leading that at least one episode of drastically accelerated decay has indeed been the case, The samples were sent (without any hint that it was a creationist project) to a But it is no problem or mystery at all if the uniformitarian/long-age. RATE provides a number of examples where the dates provided by various methods fall discordance across all radiometric dates and offers accelerated decay as an . The problem is that volumetric cooling only works for gases, not solids. Radiocarbon dating is used to determine the age of previously living things based on the abundance of Radiocarbon dating of a hypothetical organic sample.

Rather, there was likely to be a single, unifying answer that concerned the nuclear decay processes themselves. Since, from the eyewitness testimony of God's Word, the billions of years that such vast amounts of radioactive processes would normally suggest had not taken place, it was clear that the assumption of a constant slow decay process was wrong Wieland It marks a move away from reliance on 'appearance of age' and the arguments of creationists like John Woodmoreappe Plaistedwho asserted that radioisotope dates are the result of filtering essentially random numbers through the institutional biases of science.

These young-Earth creationists now argue that radioisotope decay has actually occurred, can be measured accurately, and that it would require billions of years at present rates to account for the current condition of the Earth.

The scientific community has been making those very arguments for decades.

The Age of the Earth - Creationism and Accelerated Decay: Matthew Rognstad

The RATE team, however, because of their unshakable Biblical faith in a 6, year old Earth, rejects uniformitarianism Humphreys This paper examines the evidence RATE cites for believing that decay has been accelerated, the proposed mechanisms for that acceleration, and several difficulties with the theory. The RATE group identified four separate pieces of evidence for the acceleration of radioisotope decay: Zircon crystals contain high quantities of uranium, which produces helium during its decay process.

This helium, being a noble gas, should normally be able to escape the crystal more quickly than it would be produced by uranium decay at the present rate; this is borne out by diffusion measurements conducted by RATE. Yet helium has somehow accumulated in these zircon crystals. Given that diffusion rates are known to be highly variable, it is curious that RATE would believe this clock more reliable than radioisotope decay.

Turning to the issue of radiohalos, alpha particles released during nuclear decay have been known to cause visible discoloration in rocks.

RATE argues that the halos produced by various isotopes are differentiable from each other based on size and coloration. Polonium is an unstable isotope that forms from radon decay as part of the larger uranium decay series. RATE argues that they have identified polonium halos in close proximity to uranium halos.

They argue that, given the short half life of polonium, these halos could only form under a condition of rapid decay and rapid cooling of magma Vardiman et al. The accepted scientific model actually does a good job of explaining these halos.

Given that almost all of uranium's 4. After several more steps, the thorium would eventually decay to radon, which is a noble gas. Noble gases are considered slippery because they do not latch onto other isotopes; that could allow the radon to travel the small distances and create the gaps between the halos that the RATE team noted. The third argument for acceleration offered by RATE is that of isotope discordance.

They start by asserting that radioisotope dates for all isotopes in a rock should always match perfectly. RATE provides a number of examples where the dates provided by various methods fall outside the margin of error for other isotopic methods. From their samples, RATE tries to extrapolate a general discordance across all radiometric dates and offers accelerated decay as an explanation for the discrepancy.

This leads them to discount all three assumptions that underlie radioisotope decay: The final bit of evidence for acceleration cited by RATE is the presence of trace amounts of 14C in diamonds and other 'old' objects.

Carbon, which has a half-life of 5, years, is constantly created in the atmosphere.

Carbon-14 Radioactive Dating Worked Example - Doc Physics

All living things contain the same amount of 14C because they constantly ingest it. Upon death, the 14C levels begin to decrease, halving every 5, years. The RATE group found trace amounts of 14C in ancient coal deposits and diamonds believed to be hundreds of millions of years old based on their position in the geologic record; virtually all the 14C should have already decayed.

They argue that 14C has been impervious to the acceleration of decay processes that affected other isotopes. Therefore the 50, year maximum date possible using carbon represents an effective maximum age of the Earth because no truly ancient deposits would contain residual 14C Vardiman et al.

This argument makes little sense. Carbon, like the potassium-argon and rubidium-strontium isotope dating methods RATE indicts, is an example of beta decay. All beta decay rates should be similarly affected by any change in atomic or sub-atomic forces, so 14C would have been greatly accelerated along with 40K and 87Rb. If decay had truly been accelerated, and if million years worth of decay occurred in one real year, then one would never find radiocarbon dates older than the Flood.

There certainly would not be any residual carbon in ancient diamonds.

radiocarbon dating sample problems of acceleration

Therefore RATE's discovery of ancient 14C argues strongly against their proposal of accelerated decay, not for it. The RATE team offers two mechanisms for accelerated decay. The first possibility is specific to alpha decay processes e. The protons and neutrons of an atom are normally held together in the nucleus by the nuclear strong force DeYoung During alpha decay, two neutrons and two protons escape the nucleus as an alpha particle. To do so, the alpha particle must have enough energy to overcome the threshold of the strong force, called the Coulomb barrier DeYoung There is a finite probability that alpha particles will have the necessary energy.

The RATE researchers posit that God accelerated alpha decay by weakening the strong force, thereby allowing lower energy alpha particles to escape the nucleus Chaffin What about beta decay? To explain an acceleration of beta decay RATE looked to string theory, which argues that matter is made up of miniscule knots in space-time that are trillions of times smaller than subatomic particles like electrons.

These knots may exist in up to ten dimensions. String theory connects the state of these invisible dimensions to the Fermi constant, upon which beta decay depends DeYoung Carbon, postassium, and rubidium all decay via the beta process. According to DeYoung, string theory: This might alter the Fermi constant and in turn, adjust nuclear decay rates significantly.

There are several "ifs" in this exploration of accelerated decay and it is presented here only as an example of ongoing research The RATE creationists acknowledge two of the most fundamental side effects of any such acceleration: Aggregated over the 4.

Radiocarbon Dating and Archaeology - AMS lab Beta Analytic

The acceleration of 4 billion years of decay into the first two days of the creation week and squeezing million years into the year of the Flood DeYoung That amount of energy would have caused rocks, and presumably the entire crust of the Earth, to vaporize DeYoung Aside from the fact that the planet would no longer exist, the geologic evidence RATE cites in support of acceleration would certainly have been obliterated.

In fact, the temperature increase in the zircons would have been an order of magnitude higher than average because of their abnormally high concentration of uranium Snelling Helium diffusion improves rapidly at higher temperatures, so that would seem to contradict RATE's claims about diffusion.

Simply put, at the same moment God accelerated radioisotope decay, he also expanded the size of the universe twenty-fold DeYoung This is an application of volumetric cooling, which is how refrigerators work by compressing and expanding gas. Humphreys argues the Bible contains scriptural evidence for two periods of cosmic expansion that coincide with RATE's proffered two periods of accelerated decay Humphreys For example, Psalms The problem is that volumetric cooling only works for gases, not solids.

It seems clear that even the divine intervention to expand the universe in four dimensions proposed by Humphreys would be inadequate to solve the heat problem Vardiman et al. Humphreys actually argues that the real problem with his cosmological cooling hypothesis is that it would cool the Earth too much Humphreys The uranium-rich zircon crystals would require tremendous cooling, but if the entire planet was cooled as much as required to preserve the zircon crystals, the Flood waters would have frozen, and everything aboard the ark would have died Vardiman et al.

Nevertheless, because he believes both that accelerated decay occurred and that he is descended from Noah's family who used the ark to survive the Flood, Humphreys is confident that a good explanation for cooling exists Humphreys An archaeologist must also make sure that only the useful series of samples are collected and processed for carbon dating and not every organic material found in the excavation site.

  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Radiocarbon Dating and Archaeology

Radiocarbon Scientists—Archaeologists Liaison It is important that the radiocarbon scientists and archaeologists agree on the sampling strategy before starting the excavation so time, effort, and resources will not be wasted and meaningful result will be produced after the carbon dating process.

It must be stressed that archaeologists need to interact with radiocarbon laboratories first before excavation due to several factors. Sample type, size and packing Laboratories have limitations in terms of the samples they can process for radiocarbon dating. Some labs, for example, do not date carbonates. Laboratories must also be consulted as to the required amount of sample that they ideally like to process as well as their preference with certain samples for carbon dating.

Other labs accept waterlogged wood while others prefer them dry at submission. Sample collection Contaminants must not be introduced to the samples during collection and storing. Hydrocarbons, glue, biocides, polyethylene glycol or polyvinyl acetate PVA must not come in contact with samples for radiocarbon dating.

Other potential contaminants include paper, cardboard, cotton wool, string and cigarette ash. Sample storage Samples must be stored in packaging materials that will protect them during transport and even during prolonged storage. Labels attached to the packaging materials must not fade or rub off easily.

Glass containers can be used when storing radiocarbon dating samples, but they are susceptible to breakage and can be impractical when dealing with large samples. Aluminum containers with screw caps are safe, but it is still best to consult the radiocarbon laboratory for the best containers of carbon dating samples.

Errors and calibration It is recommended that archaeologists, or any client in general, ask the laboratory if results have systematic or random errors. They should also ask details about the calibration used for conversion of BP years to calendar years.

Cost Clarify the costs involved in radiocarbon dating of samples. Some labs charge more for samples that they do not regularly process. Timescale Radiocarbon dating takes time, and laboratories often have waiting lists so this factor must be considered. Sample identification The carbon dating process is destructive, and labs usually advise their clients with regard to sample identification or labelling.

Types of contaminant Communication with clients also gives labs an idea of the possible types of contaminants in the excavation site. Knowing the type of contaminants also give radiocarbon scientists an idea on the pretreatment methods needed to be done before starting carbon dating.

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Expected sample age Labs ask clients on the expected age of the radiocarbon dating samples submitted to make sure that cross-contamination is avoided during sample processing and that no sample of substantial age more than 10, years must follow modern ones. Labs also want to avoid processing carbon dating samples that will yield large calendar ranges.

Radiocarbon dating results have insignificant value as in the case when the calibration curve is effectively flat and all calendar events in the period will produce about the same radiocarbon age.

In either of the cases, it is still worthwhile to carefully consider why the radiocarbon dating results were deemed unacceptable. Rescue Archaeology Rescue archaeology involves the survey and potential excavation of sites that are to undergo some form of construction or development in order to recover any valuable finds that are uncovered and prevent their destruction.

radiocarbon dating sample problems of acceleration

The impending developments leave little time for archaeologists to undertake their work and creates a time-pressured environment with stakeholders eager for them to finish as soon as possible.