Granite – “Creation Rock”

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One of America’s most treasured landmarks is Mount Rushmore – located in the Black Hills of South Dakota

  • The entire sculpture is carved out of Granite

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.  God called the dry ground “land”, and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.”  – Genesis 1: 9 – 10    “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone?”  – Job 38: 4 – 6

Granite rock is known to only exist on earth.  It may one day be discovered to reside on other planets.  But for now, it has only been found on this planet.  Mercury, Venus, and Mars are covered by basalt rock.  But granite remains earth’s unique signature rock, serving as the primary rock that makes up the continents. 1

Granite is comprised of large mineral grains that fit tightly together.  Granite gets its name for these grains.  Quartz and feldspar are always resident within granite as well as other “accessory” minerals (that may or may not be in a given granite specimen) 2

A key thing to understand about granite is that it is igneous and also plutonic:

  • By igneous, we mean that it solidified into a rock form from a liquid or liquefied state
  • By plutonic, we mean that it liquefied in large, deep buried bodies or tracts (that can be hundreds of square miles or more in size) 3

There are certain features of granite that are baffling and seem impossible for it to form under natural conditions. To this day, we can not re-create granite in a laboratory.

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To understand this, we need a little background on isotopes, stability, radioactive decay and half-lives:

  • “Atoms of the same element can have different numbers of neutrons. The different possible versions of each element are called isotopes.” 4
  1. An example of this would be Hydrogen, which generally has no neutrons at all.  However, some Hydrogen atoms do have one neutron – this Hydrogen isotope is referred to as Deuterium.  Another isotope of Hydrogen is one possessing two neutrons – this is called Tritium.
  2. Chemists will often depict a certain isotope with the following formula: “AXZ. Here X is the chemical symbol for the element, Z is the atomic number, and A is the number of neutrons and protons combined, called the mass number. For instance, ordinary hydrogen is written 1H1, deuterium is 2H1, and tritium is 3H1.” 5

For each element, there are better or at least more stable combinations of neutrons and protons.  In other words, the balance of protons and neutrons are better able to hold together.  The atoms of lighter elements are more stable when they have as many neutrons as they do protons.  Heavier elements are more stable when there are a few more neutrons around than protons.  Atoms with too few neutrons are considered unstable. 6

Unstable atoms are considered radioactive ones.  Their nuclei will decay or emit radiation over time in the form of electromagnetic waves.  An atom of a radioactive isotope undergoes radioactive decay, whereby it actually is converted into another element.

Scientists will use the term “half-life” to refer to the amount of time that it takes for the half of the atoms of one element to decay into those of another.  For example, Polonium 210 (often depicted as 210Po) has a half-life of 138.4 days.  This means that in 138.4 days, there will only be ½ of the original Polonium 210 left; the other half will have decayed into Polonium 206 (206Pb) – which incidentally is a stable isotope.  After another 138.4 days, only ¼ of the original Polonium 210 remains. 7

Now that we have this background, let’s look at some of the baffling features of granite rock:

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Polonium Halos:

  • Polonium 218 halos are found in granite the world over.  What makes this so interesting is that Polonium possesses a half-life of just around 3 minutes!  Yet, granite is also igneous rock – which means it went from a liquefied state to a solid state.  Since Polonium 218 halos (or residue) are present in granite – it means granite had to be formed / solidified within 3 minutes. 8
  • The following overview of Polonium Halos and their formation is taken from http://www.halos.com/
    •  “Etched within Earth’s foundation rocks — the granites — are beautiful microspheres of coloration, halos, produced by the radioactive decay of primordial polonium, which is known to have only a fleeting existence.
    • The following simple analogy will show how these polonium microspheres — or halos — contradict the evolutionary belief that granites formed as hot magma slowly cooled over millions of years. To the contrary, this analogy demonstrates how these halos provide unambiguous evidence of both an almost instantaneous creation of granites and the young age of the earth.
    • A speck of polonium in molten rock can be compared to an Alka-Seltzer dropped into a glass of water. The beginning of effervescence is equated to the moment that polonium atoms began to emit radioactive particles. In molten rock the traces of those radioactive particles would disappear as quickly as the Alka-Seltzer bubbles in water. But if the water were instantly frozen, the bubbles would be preserved. Likewise, polonium halos could have formed only if the rapidly “effervescing” specks of polonium had been instantly encased in solid rock.
    • An exceedingly large number of polonium halos are embedded in granites around the world. Just as frozen Alka-Seltzer bubbles would be clear evidence of the quick-freezing of the water, so are these many polonium halos undeniable evidence that a sea of primordial matter quickly “froze” into solid granite. The occurrence of these polonium halos, then, distinctly implies that our earth was formed in a very short time, in complete harmony with the biblical record of creation.” 9
  • The reason this is significant is because those who hold to an evolutionary worldview (or at the least to an old earth viewpoint), have typically argued for a long gradual cooling down period in the formation of the earth and its representative granite.  These halos would seem to indicate rapid formation.

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Helium and Zircon crystals:

  • Within granite is Uranium 238.  Over time, this will decay through a series of steps to Lead 206.  The half-life for Uranium 238 is currently measured as 4.47 billion years.
  • As Uranium decays, it emits alpha particles (8 of them in fact) that often capture electrons and become Helium atoms.  The Uranium and resulting Helium reside within tiny crystals called Zircons located within granite.
    •  “If a sample of granite is truly millions of years old, then most of the Helium resulting from Uranium decay should have escaped long ago from the rock. This follows because Helium atoms are relatively small and mobile, and they do not combine with other elements.  Recall how a helium balloon gradually loses its helium content and sinks to the floor.” 10
  • There is definitely a good deal of debate about this – some argue that pressures under the earth could greatly influence how quickly Helium escapes Zircons (see http://www.oldearth.org/bookreview/tnb/thousands_not_billions_4.htm).
    • Still, we don’t think this provides a sufficient explanation for its relative abundance in such rock.
  • This puts into question just how old granite is…
    • “One essential component of evolution is an extremely long timescale for earth history. Multibillions of years likewise are required by the big bang theory. However, this assumption of unlimited time is strongly challenged by recent creation research. From 1997 to 2005 a team of creation scientists explored the centerpiece of geologic time—radioisotope dating. This technique, developed over the last century, is used to date thousands of rocks, fossils and artifacts. The creation research project was given the acronym RATE, which stands for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth. Rock and mineral samples were collected from around the world and then dated by top laboratories. The RATE results conflict with geologic time and instead support a recent creation … RATE studies indicate that helium atoms can only be retained in zircon crystals within granite for a few thousand years. Yet helium atoms are found in abundance inside granite zircons. The presence of this helium within granite points directly to a young Earth.” 11

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Carbon 14 (C-14) Dating:

  • This is probably as good a place as any to mention Carbon 14 dating
  • This is the dating method that most laymen are familiar with
    • There is a misconception that C-14 supports an old age theory of the earth
    • This is just not so – nor could it be
  • C-14 has a very short half-life of only 5,730 years
    • As such, it can only really be used to date things thousands of years of age – not millions and certainly not billions
    • Long by that point, any C-14 should have decayed away into the more stable isotope of Nitrogen 14 (N-14) 12
  • Yet, Carbon 14 is found in places it shouldn’t be if the earth was extremely old
    • “Conventional” wisdom holds that coal took between tens of millions and hundreds of millions of years to form
    • Yet C-14 has been found in coal samples 13
  • The same can be said of diamond samples which “conventional” wisdom says took close to a billion years to form
    • Again, C-14 has been found resident 14