Ice Cores and the Age of the Earth: Part 1

Photograph of a section of the GISP2 ice core ...

Photograph of a section of the GISP2 ice core from 1837 m depth with clearly visible “annual layers”.

When I was looking around for links last Saturday, I ran across a blogger who was relieved to no longer have to fit ice cores into young earth beliefs because the author had turned theistic Evolutionist.

Just so you know, I’m quite sure that many such people love Jesus and will be spending eternity next door to me in our Creator God’s house.   But the “proof” we have in ice cores is nowhere close to forcing us to fall for the long ages the Evolutionists MUST have in order to be believable.

Alright, what do we know about ice cores?  Why are they a strong suit for long ages? Can we make a good case for much shorter timescales causing them? Let’s find out:

To find out what ice cores are I found an excellent article over at NASA’s Earth Observatory site.  There’s a lot of info that I could pick apart for the assumptions they are using, but for now I’m going to focus on what an ice core does and does not tell us.

Ice Cores are samples drilled out of the deep ice in the coldest regions of earth.  These ice sheets

  • Ice core pile up in layers that seal climate information in place (presumably very cleanly)
  • vary in layer thickness, color, and particle (dust and such) additions (check out the cool pictures of different level cores)
  • are coldest in the middle.  The top is warmed by the sun and air, the bottom by the earth’s core

The Natural History Museum in London has a great introductory ice core page.  Be sure to watch the 2 minute video to see the machines they work with and what an ice core sample with air bubbles looks like!  This site tells us that,

“An ice core is like a timeline – the newest ice lies closest to the surface while ice that was formed thousands, or even millions, of years ago is deeply buried.”

Well, no one’s going to think the new ice is at the bottom or middle!  But millions of years?  That’s quite a statement.  Let’s see why they think the ice is that old:

Scientists find out the age of the ice by comparing the isotopes in each layer to existing records of the Earth’s climate.

To make sure their dating is accurate, they also look at significant features in the ice core. These include layers of dust, or small amounts of the chemical sulphuric acid, which are evidence of big volcanic eruptions. Scientists know the dates of many of these events and so they can use them to check the age of the ice core.  (emphasis original)

Alright, I want to see the “existing records” they have to compare each layer and how we know the dates for volcanic eruptions from 10,000+ years ago.  Do you think they might just be guessing about this?

Isotope is a fancy name for an atom that has fewer or more neutrons than usual, sometimes making the atom radioactive.  Carbon-14 is the favorite one for dating other things, but it only works for 50,000 uniform years.  δD and δ18O values (pronounced delta-Deuterium” and “delta-O-18 value” seem to be the favored ones for ice.

Scientists also know how quickly ice usually forms in particular regions of the world and this helps them work out when each section of an ice core was formed.

Antarctica is thought to have been covered by ice for over 30 million years. So far, scientists have drilled ice cores stretching back 800,000 years, and they are now working to extend their records back to 1.4 million years ago.

And that’s the end of their article.

I’ll get into more detail in the next posts.  But let’s look at how these scientists got to their beliefs about the ice:

  • We can see how quickly/slowly ice builds up in the present.  Therefore, we can calculate backwards in time because things have always been this way (for the most part).
  • They already decided that Antarctica has been covered with ice for “over 30 million years” so they are looking for evidence to match up with what they already “know” must be true.
  • Scientists have told the Natural History Museum that their ice cores go back 800,000 years.  Therefore, the Museum passes along these statements without any explanation or questioning.

Magnafying glass studentsAre you starting to get the idea that everything comes back to a person’s worldview?  If you’re new to this site, be sure to check out what I’m talking about on my Scientific Predictions.

Part 2 Annual Layers?

Part 3 Dust and Ashes

But these people don’t want to remember what happened long ago. The skies were there, and God made the earth from water and with water. All this happened by God’s word.  Then the world was flooded and destroyed with water.  II Peter 3:5,6 Easy-to-read Version

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