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Dating the earth

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This paper is available on the web via the American Scientific Affiliation and related sites to promote greater understanding and wisdom on this issue, particularly within the Christian community.

Introduction Overview The Radiometric Clocks Examples of Dating Methods for Igneous Rocks Potassium-Argon Argon-Argon Rubidium-Strontium Samarium-Neodymium, Lutetium-Hafnium, and Rhenium-Osmium Uranium-Lead The Age of the Earth Extinct Radionuclides: The Hourglasses that Ran Out Cosmogenic Radionuclides: Carbon-14, Beryllium-10, Chlorine-36 Radiometric Dating of Geologically Young Samples Non-Radiogenic Dating Methods for the Past 100,000 Years Ice Cores Varves Other Annual-Layering Methods Thermoluminescence Electron Spin Resonance Cosmic Ray Exposure Dating Can We Really Believe the Dating Systems? Rightly Handling the Word of Truth Arguments over the age of the Earth have sometimes been divisive for people who regard the Bible as God's word.

The next few pages cover a broad overview of radiometric dating techniques, show a few examples, and discuss the degree to which the various dating systems agree with each other.

The goal is to promote greater understanding on this issue, particularly for the Christian community.

Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.

There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them.

However, some Christians suggest that the geologic dating techniques are unreliable, that they are wrongly interpreted, or that they are confusing at best.

In the process the paper refutes a number of misconceptions prevalent among Christians today.

Even though the Earth's age is never mentioned in the Bible, it is an issue because those who take a strictly literal view of the early chapters of Genesis can calculate an approximate date for the creation by adding up the life-spans of the people mentioned in the genealogies.

Assuming a strictly literal interpretation of the week of creation, even if some of the generations were left out of the genealogies, the Earth would be less than ten thousand years old.

But because God has also called us to wisdom, this issue is worthy of study.

Rocks are made up of many individual crystals, and each crystal is usually made up of at least several different chemical elements such as iron, magnesium, silicon, etc.