Re: [asa] RATE fraud (Was RATE's Radioactive Thourium Plot)

From: Steven M Smith <>
Date: Wed May 23 2007 - 13:35:51 EDT

Randy Isaac wrote:
> The halos can't start to form until the granite is cool enough so that
> damage doesn't anneal out. That means the process began toward the
> end of the flood year. Virtually all of the alpha-particle radiation
> the halos must have happened after the Flood until now with normal
> radioactive decay rates and energies. Whether 5,000 years is enough
> to cause the amount of damage in a halo is a good question.

As I understand RATE's polonium (Po) radiohalo argument from reading
"Thousands ... not Billions", the majority of the radiohalos form *during*
the Flood and not afterwards. This is one of their primary "evidences" of
accelerated nuclear decay during the Flood.

As a review or brief intro to those who are not intimately familiar with
the parentless Po radiohalo argument: Polonium-218 (half life of 3.1
minutes) is a radioisotope in the long decay chain from radioactive
uranium-238 to stable lead-206. The direct parent of polonium-218 in this
chain is radon-222, an inert gas atom with a half life of 3.8 days. The
YEC Robert Gentry originally introduced the Po radiohalo argument and
defended it in his book, "Creation's Tiny Mystery". He argued that the
only way to get a Po-218 halo without additional overlapping halos from
the uranium-238, uranium-234, thorium-230, radium-226, & radon-222
decay-chain parent isotopes was for God to have instantaneously created
the Earth 6,000 years ago with Po-218 clusters in place. Thus Po-218
halos were a "fingerprint" of God's creative activity. In the final
paragraph of his book, Gentry boasted that ...

"Until that day [of Christ?s return], which I believe is imminent,
Creation?s Tiny Mystery will stand as the Rock of Gibraltar against the
tide of evolution."

Critics of Gentry's work pointed out that ...
1) All parentless Po-218 halos were found associated with uranium-rich
rocks (lots of parent isotopes nearby);
2) The immediate parent of Po-218 is gaseous radon that can diffuse
through rocks or can be easily transported by hot water solutions
(hydrothermal fluids); and
3) Most parentless Po-218 halos were found along fractures or cleavage
planes that would have been transport channels.

RATE has revived the radiohalos argument as evidence for accelerated
nuclear decay during the Flood. RATE actually agrees with Gentry's
critics and doesn't see Po-218 halos as fingerprints of Creation:

"How do these "parentless" or "orphan" halos originate? It is almost as if
the polonium atoms suddenly appear within the solid rock and then decay.
One possible interpretation is that the polonium atoms were instantly
placed within granite at the moment of creation, at which time they
quickly decayed and formed permanent radiohalos. In this case, the halos
would be evidence for an instant supernatural creation of the original
rock foundations of the earth. The RATE studies show that this
interpretation of polonium radiohalos is not correct; their origin is a
bit more complicated." [p. 87 in Thousands ... not Billions]

But what does RATE propose?
1) Pockets of molten rock (magma) formed as a result of tremendous forces
(tectonic activity) generated during the Flood.
2) The magma intruded into the sediments laid down by the Flood at
different times during that same one-year Flood.
3) By a "process or processes that we have not yet discovered or
understood", the magma cooled within six to ten days to crystalize as
granitic plutons.
4) Hydrothermal fluids streaming through the cooling granitic pluton
transported radioactive radon-222 away from original sites and decayed to
become clusters of polonium atoms.
5) The polonium atoms quickly decayed to create parentless Po-218 halos
during the Flood in the quickly cooled granites.

Problems that RATE doesn't address include ...
1) Cooling a magma in 6-10 days doesn't give us those beautiful granites
with the large pink, gray, & black crystals so desired for monuments,
kitchen counter tops, and gravestones. Fast cooling only produces rock
glass (obsidian) that was so desired for making arrowheads and
MesoAmerican stone knives for human sacrifices. In order to get granite
by fast cooling, we need to change some more laws of physics and
2) How can you quickly push a magma several kilometers into wet sediments
while it is simultaneous cooling and becoming less and less fluid by the
3) During the one-year long Flood, RATE proposes that we got 500 million
years worth of accelerated nuclear decay. Thus the decay rate for
radon-222 (normally a half-life of 3.8 days) would be accelerated to a
half life of about 0.00001 seconds and polonium-218 (normally 3.1 minutes)
would become a half-life of 0.0000004 seconds.
4) In order to move the radon-222 one centimeter through the rock (to form
a parentless Po-218 halo) within one half-life, the hydrothermal fluid
would have to be moving at a rate 1,000 meters/second or 2,200 miles/hour
or about 3 times the speed of sound. Even if we give it 10 half-lives to
move radon-222 one cm then we are still pushing water through rock at a
rate of 220 miles per hour.

So, without calling upon magic, it looks to me as if parentless Po halos
actually prove that accelerated nuclear decay is impossible. And since
accelerated nuclear decay is the last card in the deck of YEC
radioisotopic age dating arguments, then 500 million years worth of
radioisotopic decay equal 500 million years of time.

[Disclaimer: Do not credit or blame my employer for these statements.]
 Steven M. Smith, Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey
 Box 25046, M.S. 973, DFC, Denver, CO 80225
 Office: (303)236-1192, Fax: (303)236-3200
 -USGS Nat'l Geochem. Database NURE HSSR Web Site-

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Received on Wed May 23 13:36:03 2007

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