Re: 14C (was Four Rivers Revisited)

Allen Roy (
Sun, 2 May 1999 17:07:17 -0700

> From: David Campbell <>
> Counting rings on live bristlecone pines will get you back over 4000 BP
> can calibrate 14C as well.

It is not as simple as just counting rings. True, one can count the rings
on any single cored section of tree, but the chronology is built up of many
hundreds of core sections. They were matched up by statistical analysis of
fat and thin ring patterns. It was found that they could come up with many
different chronologies of assorted lengths despite very high statistical
correlation factors. I'm going to post a report on this wubject which will
be quite interesting.

> Increased radiation makes 14C dates too young, not too old. For example,
> thanks to atmospheric nuclear bomb tests, living organisms would be
> carbon-dated at about 2200 to 2300 AD if no corrections were made.

It is usually thought that the Flood catastrophe would wash the atmosphere
pretty much clear of 14C, and that afterwards 14C would have to be built
back up in the atmosphere to balance the decay rate. Plants which began to
grow after the catastrophe would be very low in 14C compared with today and
thus would appear to be very much older than they really were.

> Also, 14C in the oceans today takes several hundred years to get from the
> ocean surface to the deep Pacific. If the oceans were more stratified
> in Woodemoreappe's attempt to allow for organisms of different salinity
> tolerance), the rate of 14C reaching the deep ocean would be slower.
> (Incidentally, such stratification would suffocate many organisms in the
> lower layers, because it hinders oxygen circulation as well.) With
> circulation rates not much more rapid than today, deep-sea 14C should
> a lag behind surficial 14C if the ratio were rapidly changing.

The possible stratification would need to have existed for only the 150
days or so of the Astroid storm. After that, the atmospheric and
hydrologic systems would then start to reach equilibriums again and animal
life would seek out appropriate environments. How long would oxygen need
to last in those strata during the 150 days?

It should be noted that Woodmorappe's proposal was developed before the
current ideas of an Asteroid storm has become more popular in Creationary
circles. However, even in such a model, it is not necessary that complete
homogenity occure.

Within the Flood catastrophe model, the atmosphere would have been washed
clean and all 14C would have been put into the hydosphere. Thus for some
time afterwards the amount of 14C in the oceans would have been greater
than in the atmosphere. So I don't think a lag as you propose would have

> If the waters were more mixed, as should result from asteroid showers, 45
> mile per hour plate motion, and other things envisioned in many flood
> scenarios, then there should be little stratification between deeper and
> shallower-water isotopes. However, with only rare exceptions (a brief
> interval in the late Paleocene is the only exception I know of, when
> circulation patterns shifted in a brief period of rapid mixing),
> deeper-water organisms show systematically different isotopic ratios,
> similar to the modern differences between shallow and deep water.
> Foraminifera have been particularly studied in this regard.

could you restate this somehow. I can't seem to understand it. Sorry.

> However, within any one log, counting the rings and comparing them with
> 14C data will tell if 14C was changing rapidly, whatever the age of the
> log. Atmospheric mixing is rapid enough to prevent major differences in
> the 14C ratio for contemporaneous trees. Unless no trees were growing
> while 14C was rapidly changing (or if the growth of the trees and
> of rings compensated for the rate of 14C change, which is even less
> plausible), it should be possible to find traces of such a shift in 14C
> production.

The increase in 14C in the atmosphere would be geometric. 80 to 90 percent
of equilibrium may be reached in several hundred years. On would indeed
expect to find changes in 14C in trees plants and animals which lived
shortly after the Flood, (assuming that the 14C would not be mixed
homogenously within the plant or animal). However, the likelyhood that
remains of animal or plant life from that time has survived to today. I
dont' believe that the survivng Bristlecone pines are anywhere near that