Radiocarbon dating volcanoes

It is not as well publicized as its larger close neighbour MT Ruapehu, which has erupted briefly several times in the last five years.

However, Mt Ngauruhoe is an imposing, almost perfect cone that rises more than 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) above the surrounding landscape to an elevation of 2,291 m (7,500 feet) above sea level1 (Figure 3).

How much better to place our confidence in the Creator who made and knows everything, and who never fails or tells lies, than in a radioactive dating method that has been repeatedly demonstrated to fail and to yield false ages for the earth’s rocks.

Fossils are almost never dated by radiometric methods, since they rarely contain suitable radioactive elements.

Cannon-like, highly explosive eruptions in January and March 1974 threw out large quantities of ash as a column into the atmosphere, and as avalanches flowing down the cone’s sides.

Blocks weighing up to 1,000 tonnes were hurled 100 m (330 feet).

In using this method, it is assumed that there was no daughter radiogenic argon (Ar*) in rocks when they formed.13 For volcanic rocks which cool from molten lavas, this would seem to be a reasonable assumption. Inset: Andesite of the June 30, 1954 flow, Mt Ngauruhoe, seen at 60 times magnification under a geological microscope. The darker recent lavas were clearly visible and each one easily identified (with the aid of maps) on the northwestern slopes against the lighter-coloured older portions of the cone (Figures 4 and 7).

Yet they yield “ages” up to 3.5 million years which are thus false.

Of course, no geologist was present to test this assumption by observing ancient lavas when they cooled, but we can study modern lava flows. The samples were sent progressively in batches to Geochron Laboratories in Cambridge, Boston (USA), for whole-rock potassium-argon (K–Ar) dating—first a piece of one sample from each flow, then a piece of the second sample from each flow after the first set of results was received, and finally, a piece of the third sample from the 30 June 1954 flow.15 To also test the consistency of results within samples, second pieces of two of the 30 June 1954 lava samples were also sent for analysis. No specific location or expected age information was supplied to the laboratory.

Geochron is a respected commercial laboratory, the K–Ar lab manager having a Ph. However, the samples were described as probably young with very little argon in them so as to ensure extra care was taken during the analytical work. This violates assumption (1) of radioactive dating, and so the K–Ar method fails the test.

A common way of dating fossils (and rocks which do not contain radioactive elements) is by “dating” an associated volcanic rock. It depends on the rate at which radioactive potassium decays into the gas argon.

The K–Ar method works on the assumption that the “clock” begins to “tick” the moment that the rock hardens.

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