Most people are surprised to learn that there is, in fact, no way to directly determine the age of any fossil or rock. The so called absolute methods of dating (radiometric methods) actually only measure the present ratios of radioactive isotopes and their decay products in suitable specimens – not their age. These measured ratios are then extrapolated to an age determination.
The problem with all radiometric clocks is that their accuracy critically depends on several starting assumptions, which are largely unknowable. To date a specimen by radiometric means, one must first know the starting amount of the parent isotope at the beginning of the specimen’s existence. Second, one must be certain that there were no daughter isotopes in the beginning. Third, one must be certain that neither parent nor daughter isotopes have ever been added or removed from the specimen. Fourth, one must be certain that the decay rate of parent isotope to daughter isotope has always been the same. That one or more of these assumptions are often invalid is obvious from the published radiometric dates (to say nothing of rejected dates) found in the literature.
One of the most obvious problems is that several samples from the same location often give widely divergent ages. Apollo moon samples, for example, were dated by both uranium-thorium-lead and potassium-argon methods, giving results, which varied from 2 million to 28 billion years. Lava flows from volcanoes on the north rim of the Grand Canyon (which erupted after its formation) show potassium-argon dates a billion years older than the most ancient basement rocks at the bottom of the canyon. Lava from underwater volcanoes near Hawaii (that are known to have erupted in 1801 AD) has been dated by the potassium-argon method with results varying from 160 million to nearly 3 billion years.
It’s really no wonder that all of the laboratories that date rocks insist on knowing in advance the evolutionary age of the strata from which the samples were taken — this way, they know which dates to accept as reasonable and which to ignore.
More precisely, radiometric dating is based on the assumption that nothing really exceptional happened in the meantime. What I mean by really exceptional is this: an event theoretically possible, but whose mechanism is not yet understood in terms of the established paradigms. To give an example: a crossing of two different universes. This is theoretically possible, taking into account modern physical theories, but it is too speculative to discuss its probability and possible consequences.
Could such an event change radioactive decay data? Could it change the values of some fundamental physical constants?
Yes, it could.
Is it possible that similar events have happened in the past? Yes, it is possible. How possible it is? We do not know. We do not know, in fact, what would be an exact meaning of crossing of two different universes.
In addition to considering the idea of cataclysms that could have destroyed ancient civilizations more than once, there is another matter to consider in special relationship to radioactive decay: that ancient civilizations may have destroyed themselves with nuclear war.
Radiocarbon dates for Pleistocene remains in northeastern North America, according to scientists Richard Firestone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and William Topping, are younger as much as 10,000 years younger than for those in the western part of the country. Dating by other methods like thermo-luminescence (TL), geoarchaeology, and sedimentation suggests that many radiocarbon dates are grossly in error. For example, materials from the Gainey Paleoindian site in Michigan, radiocarbon dated at 2880 yr BC, are given an age by TL dating of 12,400 BC.
It seems that there are so many anomalies reported in the upper US and in Canada of this type, that they cannot be explained by ancient aberrations in the atmosphere or other radiocarbon reservoirs, or by contamination of data samples (a common source of error in radiocarbon dating). Assuming correct methods of radiocarbon dating are used, organic remains associated with an artifact will give a radiocarbon age younger than they actually are only if they contain an artificially high radiocarbon keel.
Our research indicates that the entire Great Lakes region (and beyond) was subjected to particle bombardment and a catastrophic nuclear irradiation that produced secondary thermal neutrons from cosmic ray interactions. The neutrons produced unusually large quantities of Pu239 and substantially altered the natural uranium abundance ratios in artifacts and in other exposed materials including cherts , sediments, and the entire landscape. These neutrons necessarily transmuted residual nitrogen in the dated charcoals to radiocarbon, thus explaining anomalous dates. [ ]
The C14 level in the fossil record would reset to a higher value. The excess global radiocarbon would then decay with a half-life of 5730 years, which should be seen in the radiocarbon analysis of varied systems. [ ]
Sharp increases in C14 are apparent in the marine data at 4,000, 32,000-34,000, and 12,500 BC. These increases are coincident with geomagnetic excursions. [ ]
The enormous energy released by the catastrophe at 12,500 BC could have heated the atmosphere to over 1000 C over Michigan, and the neutron flux at more northern locations would have melted considerable glacial ice. Radiation effects on plants and animals exposed to the cosmic rays would have been lethal, comparable to being irradiated in a 5 megawatt reactor more than 100 seconds.
The overall pattern of the catastrophe matches the pattern of mass extinction before Holocene times. The Western Hemisphere was more affected than the Eastern, North America more than South America, and eastern North America more than western North America. Extinction in the Great lakes area was more rapid and pronounced than elsewhere. Larger animals were more affected than smaller ones, a pattern that conforms to the expectation that radiation exposure affects large bodies more than smaller ones. [Firestone, Richard B., Topping, William, Terrestrial Evidence of a Nuclear Catastrophe in Paleoindian Times, dissertation research, 1990-2001. Lawrence Livermore Laboratories.]
The evidence that Firestone and Topping discovered is puzzling for a lot of reasons. But, the fact is, there are reports of similar evidence from such widely spread regions as India, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Turkey; ancient cities whose brick and stone walls have literally been vitrified, that is, fused together like glass. There is also evidence of vitrification of stone forts and cities. It seems that the only explanation for such anomalies is either an atomic blast or something that could produce similar effects.