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Lava Flow, Living System Port

Dating Lava Flows

In order to establish the accuracy of radiometric dating techniques, the increasingly popular method of dating million-plus-year-old rocks, geochronologists performed a series of critical radiometric age tests on rocks from historic lava flows in 1969. This is their list of flows with known dates and the theoretical ages the tests produced:

Sample # Lava Flow Date Age (years)
1. Hualalai 1800 AD 1,190,000
2. Mt. Etna 122 BC 100,000
3. Mt. Etna 1792 AD 150,000
4. Mt. Lassen 1915 BC 130,000
5. Sunset Crater 1064 AD 222,000
6. Glass Mt. 130-390 BP -130,000
7. Mt. Mihara 1951 AD -70,000
8. Sakurajima 1946 AD -200,000

These historic lava flows of known provenance rendered radiometric dates ranging from negative 200,000 years (in the future) to a positive 1.9 million years (in the past). Based on modern geology’s geologic time scale, all of the ages should have shown near zero. The obvious question is that if we cannot correctly date rocks of known age—can the ‘experts’ reliably date ancient rocks of unknown age? Learn much more in the UM Age Model.