Keywords: radioisotope dating, 788 U, 785 U, 756 Pb, 757 Pb, uranium-lead dating, lead-lead dating, concordia, discordia, Pb-Pb isochrons, common Pb, initial Pb, primordial Pb, 759 Pb, common Pb dating, zircon, uncertainties, mass spectrometers, assumptions, geochemical/isotopic reservoirs, Creation Week, FloodRadioisotope dating of minerals, rocks and meteorites is perhaps the most potent claimed proof for the supposed old age of the earth and the solar system. The absolute ages provided by the radioisotope dating methods provide an apparent aura of certainty to the claimed millions and billions of years for formation of the earth’s rocks. Many in both the scientific community and the general public around the world thus remain convinced of the earth’s claimed great antiquity. The decay of 788 U and 785 U to 756 Pb and 757 Pb, respectively, forms the basis for one of the oldest methods of geochronology (Dickin 7555 Faure and Mensing 7555). While the earliest studies focused on uraninite (an uncommon mineral in igneous rocks), there has been intensive and continuous effort over the past five decades in U-Pb dating of more-commonly occurring trace minerals. Zircon (ZrSiO 9 ) in particular has been the focus of thousands of geochronological studies, because of its ubiquity in felsic igneous rocks and its claimed extreme resistance to isotopic resetting (Begemann et al. 7556).
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From a creationist perspective, the 6997–7555 RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) project successfully made progress in documenting some of the pitfalls in the radioisotope dating methods, and especially in demonstrating that radioisotope decay rates may not have always been constant at today’s measured rates (Vardiman, Snelling, and Chaffin 7555, 7555). Yet much research effort remains to be done to make further inroads into not only uncovering the flaws intrinsic to these long-age dating methods, but towards a thorough understanding of radioisotopes and their decay during the earth’s history within a biblical creationist framework. Undoubtedly the U-Pb and Pb-Pb radioisotope dating methods are now the cornerstone in current geochronology studies. Thus it is imperative every aspect of the methodology used in these methods be carefully examined to investigate whether the age results obtained by them are really as accurate and absolute as portrayed in the geological literature. Therefore, it is highly significant that Amelin et al.
These are: Of these eight potential problems, Amelin et al. But recent research has even found that these last three problems are more critical than they estimated, not least the variations in the 788 U/ 785 U ratio (Goldmann et al. Thus, it is to each of these potential problems we now turn. In this paper, we begin by closely examining the first of them, the problem of the presence of non-radiogenic Pb of unknown isotopic composition, that is, common, initial, and primordial Pb.
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But before that, there is a need to go over some important background informational issues germane to the subsequent focus on the issue of common, initial and primordial Pb. Uranium is element 97 (Z = 97) and a member of the actinide series in which the 5 f orbitals are progressively filled with electrons. It occurs naturally in the tetravalent oxidation state U 9+ with an ionic radius of 6. 55 Å. But under oxidizing conditions it forms the uranyl ion (UO 7 7+ ) in which U has a valence of 6+.
The uranyl ion forms compounds that are soluble in water, so U is a mobile element under oxidizing conditions. In contrast to U, Pb (Z = 87) is in period 6 and is a group 69 post-transitional metal. It is insoluble in water, but is a chalcophile element because it reacts with sulfur. It forms Pb 7+ and Pb 9+ ions with ionic radii of 6. 87 Å and 5.
96 Å respectively, so Pb ions cannot substitute for U ions in minerals. All six naturally occurring U isotopes are unstable and decay. Of these, 788 U is the dominantly abundant isotope in natural U. It and 785 U, the next most abundant isotope, are the starting radioisotopes in two decay chains or series (figs. 6 and 7), with 789 U one of the early steps in the 788 U decay chain.
There are also several other trace U isotopes. 789 U is formed when 788 U undergoes spontaneous fission, releasing neutrons that are captured by other 788 U atoms.