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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CD011.6:

Coal and oil are supposedly millions of years old. Effectively all of the carbon-14 in a sample would have decayed in that time. But carbon-14 still exists in coal, implying an age of only about 50,000 years.


Baumgardner, John, 2003. Carbon dating undercuts evolution's long ages. Impact #364 (Oct.),
Baumgardner, J. R., D. R. Humphreys, A. A. Snelling, and S. A. Austin, 2003. Measurable 14C in fossilized organic materials: Confirming the young earth creation/Flood model. in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, R. E. Walsh, ed., Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, pp. 127-142.


  1. New 14C is formed from background radiation, such as radioactivity in the surrounding rocks. In some cases, 14C from the atmosphere can contaminate a sample. A few processes that can add "modern" 14C to coal are:
    Minute amounts of contamination from these sources can cause apparent ages around 50,000 years, which is near the limit of the maximum age that carbon dating can measure.


Hunt, Kathleen, 2002. Carbon-14 in coal deposits.


  1. Hunt, K., 2000. (see above)

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created 2003-5-25, modified 2004-10-25