cracks in creationism

Paul Arveson (
Thu, 11 Dec 1997 11:49:19 -0400

Steve Schimmrich wrote, in response to Andrew Snelling:

>>The local geological context makes the basalt flow approx 30 million years
>>old, if you accept the standard model. Since the trees were entombed in the
>>lava, they also must be approx. 30 million years old. Also what apparently
>>looked like tree roots were found in the siltstone below the basalt, which
>>suggests the trees were rooted in the siltstone and thus growing on a land
>>surface that was then covered by basalt lava. The siltstone belongs to
>>the Permiam German Creek coal measures, conventionally believed to be
>>255 million years old.
> Perhaps the tree roots penetrating the basalt also penetrated into the
>underlying siltstone. How thick was this basalt flow? Is there an erosional
>surface on top of the basalt? Are there fractures in the basalt?

This 'anomaly' in dating appears to parallel the claims made by Dr. Robert
Gentry regarding polonium atoms found encased in ancient granites, and
identified by the 'pleochroic halos' or darkened rings due to alpha
radiation that was used to identify the polonium. Po has a very short
half-life, so this appears to imply that the 'ancient' granites were really

Unlike Snelling's, Gentry's articles actually WERE published in Science.
For awhile, there was no clear refutation of these observations offered.
Eventually some responses were written, the latest by Derek York (in Eos).
(I studied all the published literature on this issue and compiled a set of
quotes on it, but the AGU editor would not let me publish it).

At any rate the interpretation was that the polonium atoms were from recent
intrusions of water-suspended particles into cracks or cleavge planes in
the mineral crystals. In fact, many of the photographs do show the Po
grains preferentially lined up along cracks. If they had been in the
mineral melt originally, they would always be distributed randomly in a

Gentry has ignored the criticism and has (with his son) gone ahead to
produce a video on his discovery, called 'Earth's Tiny Mystery', which is
distributed by creationist sources. The video is, of course, aimed at
general church audiences, and is predictably convincing outside the context
of a specialized scientific audience.

Paul Arveson, Code 724, Research Physicist, Signatures Directorate
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
9500 MacArthur Blvd., West Bethesda, MD 20817-5700
(301) 227-3831 (301) 227-4511 (FAX)