Earth's Oldest Rocks: 4.4B-Year-Old Crystals
They're not much younger than the planet itself
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2014 9:46 AM CST
A screen shot from Sydney Morning Herald video featuring a crystal.   (Sydney Morning Herald video)

(Newser) – When scientists claimed more than a decade ago that tiny crystals in Australia were 4.4 billion years old, they faced skepticism. The Earth itself, after all, is 4.5 billion years old, the Sydney Morning Herald notes. "Nothing in science goes without being questioned," geochemist John Valley tells NPR. Now, however, his team has proven the crystals' age is correct—in other words, they're the oldest Earth-formed materials ever found. Researchers dated the crystals, which need magnification to be seen, by investigating how much of the uranium within them had turned into lead. But that standard dating method wasn't enough to convince some fellow scientists.

Doubters pointed out that as time went by, lead atoms could have shifted around inside the crystal, potentially resulting in inaccurate readings. So the experts turned to a process called atom-probe tomography, which allowed them to map out specific atoms, NPR reports. The study showed that, in fact, the atoms hadn't moved much. Now, "we've proved that the chemical record inside these zircons is trustworthy," Valley tells LiveScience. The findings indicate that the Earth may have been able to host life earlier than had been believed: "there is no reason why life could not have existed on Earth 4.3 billion years ago," Valley says.

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lightyear36
Mar 2, 2014 3:30 PM CST
I think you missed the point disqus_fhwSu2cRQ4, The best evidence is an eyewitness account. Science loses credibility when assumptions are used. This is not a flawed argument but fact. 1) The rate of decay has remained constant throughout the past. 2) The original amount of both mother and daughter elements is known. 3) The sample has remained in a closed system. I don't believe I said anything about the Bible in my facts, did I? By the way most people only look at one part of Romans 13. What about the part of holding those governments accountable for their actions? Dereliction of duty by America's pastors and churches are the IRS 501c3 non-profit tax status, which turns the Lord's church into a government corporation; and the erroneous, fallacious interpretation of Romans chapter 13 that teaches Christians are obligated to submit to government regardless of whether government acts within the confines and jurisdiction of God's law or not. In reality, the American church today, on the whole, is not even a church. It is a government corporation whose loyalty is offered first to Caesar, not to Christ, and whose message is first politically correct before it is Biblically correct.
disqus_fhwSu2cRQ4
Feb 28, 2014 3:48 PM CST
And the obvious flaw in lightyear 36's argument is that somehow and for some reason that can only be explained by reading a "sociology/history text" the radiocarbon would be remarkably decreased the farther you go back before the history text says the world started. The assumption that we have roughly the same amount of carbon today as we did in the past makes more sense than the amount is different because then it won't fit into the model of how the world was created 8k years ago is sadly full of holes.. So how about this as a solution render unto Ceaser the things that are Ceasers and unto god the things that are gods. The Bible teaches us how to live with each other and how to revere and respect him and his works. These are the things that are gods. Cesears portion is the investigation into how. It doesn't have to magically fit into the Bible to make this work because "when I was I child I spoke like a child and thought like a child and when I became a man I put away the things of my youth" If someone had spoken to a prophet and they told them that the world was 5 billion years old and it has been populated by animals that nobody had ever seen and through a process of genetic mutation these animals changed over time and humans eventually came into being they would have gotten a blank stare with a "Whats a gene?" followed by What's a billion? response. So they provide a story the simple people of the time can understand and relate too. Simple people simple story. It's time to put away the stories of our youth. That doesn't mean the Bible has no use, I'm just not going to look there for what you get when you mix charcoal salt peter and sulfur together. It's not in there. Neither is the derivative of 2x/ m, or how a laser works. These are the things of science and math and are the discovery of man. If the only solution to make it fit the old story is to say that for some reason everything has to be different than it is now that isn't Science it's grasping at straws. Your argument is no argument at all... stop trying to make science fit your beliefs....
lightyear36
Feb 27, 2014 12:45 PM CST
Someone may ask, ‘Why do geologists still use radiometric dating? Wouldn’t they have abandoned the method long ago if it was so unreliable?’ Just because the calculated results are not the true ages does not mean that the method is completely useless. The dates calculated are based on the isotopic composition of the rock. And the composition is a characteristic of the molten lava from which the rock solidified. Therefore, rocks in the same area which give similar ‘dates’ are likely to have formed from the same lava at about the same time during the Flood. So, although the assumptions behind the calculation are wrong and the dates are incorrect, there may be a pattern in the results that can help geologists understand the relationships between igneous rocks in a region. Contrary to the impression that we are given, radiometric dating does not prove that the Earth is millions of years old. The vast age has simply been assumed. The calculated radiometric ‘ages’ depend on the assumptions that are made. The results are only accepted if they agree with what is already believed. The only foolproof method for determining the age of something is based on eyewitness reports and a written record.