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Gentry has spent most of his professional life studying the nature of very small discoloration features in mica and other minerals, and concluded that they are proof of a young Earth.
Geologists classify rocks into three main categories - sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic - based on the way in which they form.
Figure 1 shows a typical discoloration halo around a radioactive mineral inclusion in the mineral pyroxene.
The zone of damage is roughly spherical around a central mineral inclusion or radioactive source.
The boxes on the next few pages present a brief tutorial in rocks, minerals, and radioactivity.
Certain minerals, such as zircon and monazite, which form as common trace constituents in igneous rocks, have crystal structures which can accommodate varying amounts of the naturally occurring radioactive elements, uranium and thorium.
In metamorphic rocks, new minerals form that are more stable at higher temperatures and pressures.
Volcanic rocks, because they are able to cool and crystalize rapidly, have a very fine-grained texture; the individual mineral grains are too small to see easily with the naked eye.
These haloes were considered to be the result of damage to the crystal structure of the host minerals caused by high energy alpha particles.
In numerous papers published in scientific journals in the 1970s and 1980s, Gentry built the case that the different alpha decay energies of various naturally occurring radioactive isotopes resulted in distinctly different halo diameters.
Granite is a well-known type of plutonic igneous rock, but there are many others as well.
Geologists distinguish these types of rock based on their chemical and mineralogical composition.s the creation/evolution debate continues, there has been an increasing sophistication of certain Creationist arguments and publications.It can be an especially difficult challenge when the Creationist author has professional credentials and has published in mainstream scientific journals.Plutonic rocks on the other hand cool very slowly, on the order of a million years or more for some deeply buried and insulated magmas.