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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CD012:

U-Th dating of volcanic rocks formed in historic times gives dates vastly older than their true age.


Clementson, S. P., 1970, A critical examination of radioactive dating of rocks. Creation Research Society Quarterly 7 (Dec.): 137-141; citing Cherdyntsev, V. V., et al., Geological Institute Academy of Sciences, USSR, Earth Science Section, 172, p. 178. Cited in: Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 143.


  1. This claim is based on a single obscure reference. Until we get hold of that reference, we cannot address it directly, but some general comments are possible.

    First, dating techniques, like any tool, can be misused. This particular case could be an example, especially if xenoliths (older inclusions) are incorporated in the volcanic rocks. The misuse could be accidental; it could also be deliberate so as to illustrate how not to do things; or it could be someone deliberately trying for a discrepant age. Other examples of discordant dates among these claims show that a date alone does not invalidate the method; one must also consider how the method was applied.

    Second, there is a vast body of literature showing that the U-Th method does work. It would take more than one published counterexample to discredit it. And if that counterexample were a serious challenge to the method, there would be plenty of publications about it.

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created 2003-8-22