Grand Canyon: Rock Dating

The Grand Canyon is both a geologist’s dream and a geologist’s nightmare. It’s a geologist’s dream because it’s not just a bunch of sediment rock layers (like sandstone and limestone), but it also has hardened lava flows and hardened magma cutting through, under, and above the layers. Except for Carbon-14 dating, radioisotope dating only works on igneous rock, like lava flows or granite.  Without these rocks, geologists have to rely on fossils to date the rocks. Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between lava and magma? Not many people do, but now you probably wonder. Lava and magma are interesting words in geology because they are not just names for what something is, but also where it is. Magma is underground and lava is above ground. That’s the only difference. The Grand Canyon has both hardened magma (this makes rock like granite and basalt) and hardened lava.  Both of these can be used to find a radioisotope “age” for the rocks in the Grand Canyon.

On the other hand, the Grand Canyon is also a geologist’s nightmare. This is because of the results of radioisotope dating on the hardened lava and magma as well as some of the reasons I mentioned in previous posts and other reasons I haven’t written about yet. Let me make something clear, before I tell you about the results from radioisotope dating in the Grand Canyon. I do not endorse the “ages” placed on rocks using these dating methods, because they are based on unproven and wrong ideas to begin with and the methods have several other problems. The radioisotope dating of hardened lava flows and magma at the top and bottom of the Grand Canyon give the same age. For the lava flows to be on top, the layers have to be there first (otherwise, how could the lava flows burn the top layers?). If the radioisotope “dates” at the top and bottom of the canyon are the same it means that the layers must have all been laid down at once, not over several hundred million years. Next week we will talk a little more about radioisotopes in the Grand Canyon.

This is a chunk of Basalt, formed from hardened magma, in the Grand Canyon.  Notice the Colorado  River in the background.

This is a chunk of Basalt, formed from hardened magma, in the Grand Canyon. Notice the Colorado River in the background.

Some of my sources for information on radioisotopes include the following resources
“Another View of the Grand Canyon” from Answers Magazine, April-June, 2013
Grand Canyon: What is the Biblical Message, by Tom Vail
Thousands . . . Not Billions, by Dr. Don DeYoung
Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: A Young Earth Creationist Initiative, by Dr. Larry Vardiman, Dr. Andrew Snelling, and Dr. Eugene Chaffin
“Radioactive and Radiocarbon Dating: Turning Foe Into Friend”, Answers in Genesis video talk by Dr. Andrew Snelling
“Radiohalos –“ Three part article in Answers Magazine , April-June, July-September, and October-December 2012 issues

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