To date a radioactive rock, geologists first measure the “sand grains” in the top glass bowl (the parent radioisotope, such as uranium-238 or potassium-40).They also measure the sand grains in the bottom bowl (the daughter isotope, such as lead-206 or argon-40, respectively).Because of such contamination, the less than 50-year-old lava flows at Mt.Ngauruhoe, New Zealand (), yield a rubidium-strontium “age” of 133 million years, a samarium-neodymium “age” of 197 million years, and a uranium-lead “age” of 3.908 billion years!Part 2 explains how scientists run into problems when they make assumptions about what happened .
There are similar problems with the other radioactive “clocks.” For example, consider the dating of Grand Canyon’s basalts (rocks formed by lava cooling at the earth’s surface).
So geologists have assumed these radioactive decay rates have been constant for billions of years.
However, this is an enormous extrapolation of seven orders of magnitude back through immense spans of unobserved time without any concrete proof that such an extrapolation is credible.
Yet the same uranium decay also produced abundant helium, but only 6,000 years worth of that helium was found to have leaked out of the tiny crystals. Not Billions (Master Books, Green Forest, Arkansas, 2005), pages 65–78.
This means that the uranium must have decayed very rapidly over the same 6,000 years that the helium was leaking. The assumptions on which the radioactive dating is based are not only unprovable but plagued with problems.
6 The problems with contamination, as with inheritance, are already well-documented in the textbooks on radioactive dating of rocks.7 Unlike the hourglass, where its two bowls are sealed, the radioactive “clock” in rocks is open to contamination by gain or loss of parent or daughter isotopes because of waters flowing in the ground from rainfall and from the molten rocks beneath volcanoes.