Mount St. Helens: a case against Evolution – The TRUTH SOURCE
Because radiometric dating utterly refutes their biblical interpretations, Although Swenson accompanied Austin on a trip to Mt. St. Helens, there is no .. that the dacite mineral/glass 'fractions' were suitably 'pure' enough for testing the . St. Helens used in drive to prove biblical creation with science on a tour of the land around Mount St. Helens, pointing out geologic structures formed by . from inaccuracies in radiocarbon dating to gaps in the fossil record to superfine Their suppositions can't be tested, nor can they (if you'll pardon the. The mountain also provided a clear reason to distrust the reliability of radiometric dating. A new rock cap atop the mountain that formed after the.
But is the method all it's cracked up to be? Can we really trust it? The lava dome at Mount St.
How Old Is the Mount St. Helens Lava Dome?
Helens provides a rare opportunity for putting radioisotope dating to the test. In August ofI had the exciting privilege of accompanying geologist Dr. Helens to view the lava dome. It was one of those experiences that was well worth every exhausting moment! It is composed of a volcanic rock called dacite and appears to an observer in the crater as a huge steaming mound of dark, blocky rubble.
Actually the present lava dome at Mount St. Helens is the third dome to form since the eruption, the first two having been blasted away by subsequent eruptions.
The current dome started to form after the volcano's last explosive eruption on October 17, During 17 so-called dome-building eruptions, from October 18, to October 26,thick pasty lava oozed out of the volcanic vent much like toothpaste from a tube.
Dacite lava is too thick to flow very far, so it simply piled up around the vent forming the mountain-like dome, which now sits as a plug over the volcanic orifice. Why does the lava dome provide an opportunity to test the accuracy of radioisotope dating? There are two reasons. First, radioisotope dating methods can be used mainly on volcanic igneous rock, such as dacite. Fossil-bearing sedimentary rock cannot be directly dated radioisotopically.
Second, the date of formation of the dacite is known. Forensic scientists frequently send criminals to prison without eyewitness testimony. To be exact, the recent hideous actions of the Washington DC area USA sniper s illustrate how unreliable eyewitnesses can be and how important forensic science is in solving crimes and stopping killers.
In contrast to Austin et al. Circular Reasoning or Reliable Tools? As mentioned above, we already know that Austin's application of the K-Ar method to this dacite sample was flawed from the beginning.
Nevertheless, what are some possible causes of Austin's old dates? Of course, some YECs might argue that God, for whatever reason, simply zapped some 40Ar into the various minerals during the 'Creation Week' about 6, years ago. Obviously, this suggestion has absolutely no scientific support or merit.
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Such ideas are flights of fantasy and not scientific hypotheses. Not even Austin endorses these untestable claims in his essay. Other YECs might argue that some of the minerals in the dacite began to grow sometime over the past 6, years. However, without resorting to unproven miracles to speed up the decay rate of 40K, YECs still have the problem of explaining how all of that 40Ar could form in only 6, years.
Using science, there are at least three hypotheses that may be purposed to explain why Austin obtained 'dates' ofto 2. Argon gas 'excess' argon was incorporated into the glass and minerals in the dacite as they formed in the parent melt. The argon failed to degas from the minerals before the dacite solidified. Because all but one of the dates in the above table are below the 2 million year lower dating limit established by Geochron Laboratories, the dates may be nothing more than contamination artifacts from the mass spectrometer at Geochron Laboratories.
IF the Geochron mass spectrometer was exceptionally clean on the day that Austin's samples were run that is, IF hypothesis 2 is not a factorthe dates may be approximately accurate. Even if the absolute values of the dates are highly erroneous, the relative order of the fractions' dates from oldest to youngest may be roughly correct. That is, the various minerals phenocrysts in the dacite may have grown in the parent melt at different times and the entire crystallization process may have taken as much as a few million years.
Additionally, somewhat older xenoliths foreign rocks and xenocrysts foreign minerals, for example, Hyndman,p. Any or all of these hypotheses are possible. Austin strongly argues that steps were taken in his laboratory to protect the samples from contamination and that xenoliths foreign rocks, hypothesis 3 were removed from the samples before analysis. He also claims that microscopes were used to scan for 'foreign particles' xenocrysts? Of course, he and his assistants may have missed many of the xenocrysts if they were small.
Austin clearly ignores the possibility of contamination in the mass spectrometer hypothesis 2 and the possibility that the phenocrysts in his samples may be much older than the AD eruption hypothesis 3. Austin simply assumes that the first explanation is correct and then he proceeds to use the 'presence' of 'excess argon' in his samples to question the reliability of all K-Ar dates on other rocks and minerals.
This is the logical fallacy of composition Copi and Cohen, The validity of either hypothesis 2 or 3 would provide additional evidence that Austin's application of the K-Ar method is flawed and that he has failed to prove that the K-Ar method is universally invalid. In the caption of Figure 4, Austin identifies the grains in the photograph as phenocrysts and microphenocrysts, which is probably generally correct. Phenocrysts and microscopic phenocrysts microphenocrysts are crystals that grow in a melt magma deep within the Earth.
In some cases, the entire melt solidifies before reaching the Earth's surface and an intrusive igneous rock develops Hyndman,p. Because intrusive rocks solidify deep within the Earth away from cool water and air, volcanic glass is absent and the grains may be fairly large that is, easily reaching lengths of one centimeter or more. In other cases, such as Austin's dacite, a partially crystallized melt erupts on the Earth's surface and produces a volcanic rock, which may be a mixture of rapidly quenched volcanic glass and coarser phenocrysts Hyndman,p.
Although Austin and Swenson will not admit it, some of the grains in Figure 4 may be xenocrysts rather than phenocrysts. In some cases, the magma may not be hot enough to melt or entirely dissolve the xenocrysts and they may survive after the melt cools.
For even the best mineralogists and petrologists, xenocrysts may be difficult to distinguish from phenocrysts for example, Hyndman,p.
As clearly shown in Figure 4 of Austin's essaymany of the mineral grains are zoned. The zoning appears as a series of concentric rings of various shades of gray within the grains see the two obvious examples in the middle of Figure 4.
Zoned crystals also may show Carlsbad twinning, which is typical of feldspars Perkins and Henke,Plate 10; Klein and Hurlbut,p. In thin section and under crossed-polarized light, Carlsbad twinning has a 'half and half' appearance, where one half of the grain is darker than the other half Perkins and Henke,Plate As the sample is rotated on a microscope stage, one twin will darken as the other lightens in crossed-polarized light.
A large grain with very noticeable Carlsbad twinning is located at the top of Figure 4. Well-established laboratory studies Klein and Hurlbut,p. That is, as the magma cools, calcium-rich plagioclases crystallize first, which causes the remaining melt to become depleted in calcium and relatively enriched in sodium. Once temperatures further decline, more sodium-rich plagioclase begins to solidify from the melt and may surround the calcium-rich grains.
This process produces zoning, where the older and more calcium-rich plagioclases are located in the core of the grains and the younger and more sodium-rich plagioclases occupy the rims. Because of their crystalline and chemical differences, the calcium-rich plagioclase cores have somewhat different optical properties than the sodium-rich rims, which produce the noticeable concentric zoning in the grains in Austin's thin section photograph.
Besides plagioclase feldspars, chemicals in cooling magmas deep within the Earth may organize into pyroxenes, amphiboles and a large variety of other minerals. In contrast, any melt that reaches the Earth's surface during an eruption will immediately quench into volcanic glass if it comes into contact with seawater or other surface waters. The quenching process freezes the atoms in place and prevents them from organizing into crystals.
In the presence of air, the lava may cool slowly enough that some VERY small minerals may grow. The highly disorganized volcanic glass matrix in Austin's Figure 4 appears black or 'isotropic' in crossed-polarized light. Unlike most minerals, which lighten and darken in crossed-polarized light as the microscope stage is rotated, volcanic glass always remains consistently dark under crossed-polarized light. Furthermore, unlike disorganized and quickly chilled volcanic glass, well-zoned and developed feldspar crystals, such as those shown in Figure 4, don't form overnight.
On the basis of the glass and mineral textures and elementary melt chemistry, we know that the zoned plagioclases and other relatively large and well-developed minerals in Austin's dacite must have taken more time to grow than the surrounding glass matrix. By using high-temperature ovens in undergraduate university laboratories or even crystal-growing kits and kitchen chemicals, a normally intelligent person can verify that coarse crystals take more time to grow than finer-grained materials.
Clearly, basic crystal chemistry and physics dictates that zoned and other relatively large phenocrysts grew deep within the Earth and existed before the glass matrix that rapidly formed during the eruption. Nevertheless, it is clear from Austin's essay that he has failed to incorporate the obviously diverse ages of the phenocrysts and the volcanic glass into his explanation for the origin of the dacite.
Similarly, Swenson also fails to comprehend the indisputable history that is associated with the plagioclase zoning and to properly recognize the important age differences between the coarsest phenocrysts and the volcanic glass.
Even when phenocrysts as in Austin's Figure 4 and xenocrysts can be seen with an optical microscope, they can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to effectively separate from the glass. I've attempted to separate very fined-grained minerals from glass in coal ashes by using magnetic separation and hydrofluoric and other acids.
Specifically, Austin admits that most of his fractions are impure when he includes the term 'etc. Furthermore, Austin's descriptions in the following statements clearly indicate that he FAILED to adequately separate the phenocrysts and possible xenocrysts from the volcanic glass.
Because Austin clearly understands the heterogeneous composition of this 'fraction', he should have known that a K-Ar date on this mess would be meaningless.
How Old Is the Mount St. Helens Lava Dome?
Again, the mineral textures, as well as the laws of chemistry and physics, dictate that the calcium-rich plagioclase cores grew at higher temperatures before the sodium-rich rims and that glasses only formed once the melt erupted at the surface. Mafic microphenocrysts within these glassy particles were probably dominated by the strongly magnetic Fe-Ti oxide minerals. The microscopic examination of the 'heavy-magnetic concentrate' also revealed a trace quantity of iron fragments, obviously the magnetic contaminant unavoidably introduced from the milling of the dacite in the iron mortar.
No attempt was made to separate the hornblende from the Fe-Ti oxides, but further finer milling and use of heavy liquids should be considered.
Although the contamination might have seriously affected any iron analyses, K and Ar analyses may not have been affected. The description of another one of Austin's 'fractions' indicates that it is also highly impure: These mafic microphenocrysts and fragments of mafic phenocrysts evidently increased the density of the attached glass particles above the critical density of 2.
This sample also had recognizable hornblende, evidently not completely isolated by magnetic separation. Because it was composed of finer particles meshit contained far fewer mafic particles with attached glass fragments than DOME-IH.
This preparation is the purest mineral concentrate. Therefore, instead of dating the ages of the pyroxenes, he probably dated a mixture of mostly pyroxenes along with other minerals and volcanic glass. Again, a K-Ar date on such an impure 'fraction' would be meaningless and a waste of time and money. That is, Austin is not dating the volcanic glass or the pyroxenes in the dacite, but artificial mixtures, which result from incomplete separations. Because Austin admits that his separations were impure, how can he, Swenson and other YECs justify their claims that these dacite samples were a fair test of the validity of the K-Ar method?
Why did Austin waste precious time and money analyzing samples that were known to contain mineral and glass impurities? As a geologist, Austin should have known that minerals, especially zoned minerals, take more time to crystallize than quenched disorder glass. How could he expect the relatively large and sometimes zoned minerals to be as young as the glass?!! The following additional comments by Swenson demonstrate that he does not understand the mineralogy and chemistry of the dacite: However, Dalrymple  found that even volcanic glass can give wrong ages and rationalized that it can be contaminated by argon from older rock material.
In any debate, the debaters should provide the references or Internet links for their opponents so that the readers can evaluate both sides and really understand what's going on.
Clearly, Swenson simply assumes that the volcanic glass contains 'excess argon. In his essay, Austin even admits that the glass still needs to be separated and analyzed for argon. Furthermore, many studies for example, the Haulalai basalt; Funkhouser and Naughton, demonstrate that Swenson and other YECs cannot automatically assume that modern volcanic glass contains excess argon. Although hypothesis 1 is plausible, until the argon isotope concentrations of the PURE glass are accurately measured for Austin's dacite if this is even possible we cannot properly evaluate this hypothesis.
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Because Swenson does not provide a page number for his citation of Dalrymplethe identity of the volcanic glass with excess argon is uncertain. Perhaps, Swenson was referring to the following statement from Dalrymplep. Because the centers of the flows cool more slowly, any excess 40Ar and other gases can disperse out of the remaining melt before solidification. While YECs explain geology by invoking talking snakes, magical fruit, and a mythical 'Flood', Dalrymple discusses legitimate chemistry and fluid physics, which is hardly relying on flimsy 'rationalizations' or implausible excuses.
Furthermore, contrary to Swenson's claims, nothing in Dalrymple excuses Austin's sloppy approach to K-Ar dating. In particular, YECs have no justification for automatically assuming that the dacite glass contains excess argon. Even if the dacite glass does contain excess argon, Dalrymplep.
Furthermore, if abundant excess argon is present in older rocks, Ar-Ar dating and K-Ar isochron dating can detect and eliminate its effects as examples, McDougall and Harrison,p.