Edited by Greg Neyman
Gentry and others have claimed that polonium haloes prove the earth is young. The reasoning goes like this: Some micas have tiny haloes, supposedly caused by the decay of radioactive elements. Using the diameter of the halo, you can know the energy of the alpha particle which caused the decay, and from that you can tell what element decayed. Some of these formed from isotopes of polonium, which has a short half-life (138 days or less depending on the isotope). The reasoning is that since it is such a short half-life, all the original polonium should have decayed by now. The presence of polonium in the rock indicates a recent creation
R. V., 1986. Creation's Tiny Mystery. Knoxville, TN: Earth Science
Snelling, A. A., 2000. Polonium radiohaloes: Still "a very tiny mystery". Impact 326 (Aug.), i-iv.
Polonium forms from the alpha decay of radon, which is one of the decay products of uranium. Since radon is a gas, it can migrate through small cracks in the minerals. The fact that polonium haloes are found only associated with uranium (the parent mineral for producing radon) supports this conclusion, as does the fact that such haloes are commonly found along cracks (Brawley 1992; Wakefield 1998).
The locations that Gentry collected some of his samples introduces problems that he has not accounted for in his argument
Stromatolites (impressions of living organisms) exists in the rocks intruded by the dikes from which Gentry got his samples. This means there was living organisms present before the dikes, and his haloes, existed, which is contrary to his theory that the haloes come from primordial material (pre-life)
For more Reading:
Talk Origins source article Contains further responses to this argument
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