Walker quaternary dating

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by Brian Dunning Filed under General Science, Natural History, Religion Skeptoid Podcast #146 March 24, 2009 Podcast transcript Today we're going to point our skeptical eye at one of the key players in the debate between geologists and Young Earthers over the age of the Earth. Steven Austin took a sample of dacite from the new lava dome inside Mount St. The dacite sample was known to have been formed from a 1986 magma flow, and so its actual age was an established fact. Austin submitted the sample for radiometric dating to an independent laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.The results came back dating the rock to 350,000 years old, with certain compounds within it as old as 2.8 million years. Austin's conclusion is that radiometric dating is uselessly unreliable. Austin chose a dating technique that is inappropriate for the sample tested, and charged that he deliberately used the wrong experiment in order to promote the idea that science fails to show that the Earth is older than the Bible claims.So when my result says the sample was 2.4 billion years old, this is only correct if the sample was at least 10,000 years old to begin with, and it's only correct plus or minus a calculated margin of error, in this example about 600,000 years.The bell curve of probable age starts at about 1.8 billion years, peaks at 2.4 billion, and dips back to the baseline at 3 billion.It is equally important for professionals in the fields of Earth, Environmental and Archaeological Sciences, who need to know about the range of dating techniques that are available, and about their strengths, limitations and potential applications.

This happens to K, 1.2 billion years later you'll have 500, and 1.2 billion years after that you'll have 250.

The Quaternary is the most recent major subdivision of the geological record, covering the last 2.5 million years or so of earth history and extending to the present day.

Over the course of the Quaternary, the earth's global climate system oscillated between glacial and interglacial modes.

So I thought this would be a great place to point Skeptoid's skeptical eye, and see how much of the chaff we can cut through to see what the bare facts of the case really are.

Obviously both sides of this debate have agendas to promote, and that means that any summary you're likely to read was probably motivated by one agenda or the other.

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