Creation Science

Young Earth Creation Science Argument Index


G1242:  Isochron date of young Grand Canyon lava is excessively old


Edited by Greg Neyman



The hawaiite lava flows from the Uinkaret Plateau of the Grand Canyon are dated by potassium-argon at about 1.2 million years, an age consistent with the lava flow being younger than the canyon itself. However, a Rb-Sr isochron plot of samples from the lava flow gives an age of 1.34 billion years, which is older than even the Cardenas Basalt, some of the oldest rock in the canyon. The data points are colinear, which is supposed to indicate a valid isochron. This result shows that the isochron method is invalid.

Source:   Austin, Steven A., 1992. Excessively old "ages" for Grand Canyon lava flows. Impact 224 (Feb.).




  1. A requirement for the isochron method was ignored by Austin.  The samples must be cogenetic (from materials that were isotopically homogeneous when they formed).  Austin selected samples from four different lava flows and one phenocryst.  It is Austin's method, not the isochron method, that is in error

  2. Non-cogenetic samples are sometimes used to intentionally determine the age of the common source of the samples.  In this case, Austin confirmed that the lithospheric mantle underlying the Grand Canyon (the source for all the samples) is older than the Cardenas Basalt.  However, geologists already knew this

  3. Austin cited a previous work, which showed that non-cogenetic samples would produce an age for the molten material's source.  In essence, Austin's work is amateurish


For more Reading:

Talk Origins source article

Isochron Dating



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