Radon carbon dating
However, a new report on a separate isotope has again correlated radioisotope decay acceleration with nearness to the sun.The investigators locked radioactive radon-222 gas in a lead chamber and compared radioactive readouts taken from both inside and outside the chamber.In particular, RATE scientists found that radioisotope decay rates had been accelerated by orders of magnitude in the past and that one or more such acceleration events vastly inflated the apparent age of rocks (i.e., the age derived from the assumption that radioisotope decay has been constant through time).For example, RATE found a high accumulation of helium, a product of radioisotope decay, still trapped inside small crystals.They wrote, "Combining these observations implies a strong inter-connection between the seasonal and diurnal patterns.This in turn again implies a mutual connection to the rotation of earth around its axis and its rotation around the sun." The radon decay rates accelerated during the daylight hours and during the summer.Radioactive isotopes are commonly portrayed as providing rock-solid evidence that the earth is billions of years old.Since such isotopes are thought to decay at consistent rates over time, the assumption is that simple measurements can lead to reliable ages.
Some unknown factor affects certain radioisotope decay rates.One of the implied assumptions in radiocarbon dating is that levels of atmospheric carbon-14 have remained constant over time.This turns out not to be exactly true, and so there is an inherent error between a raw "radiocarbon date" and the true calendar date.The data showed that silicon-32 decayed more slowly in the summer, and then sped up during the winter.A 2010 Stanford University report reflected similar fluctuations in the decay rate of other elements.
But new discoveries of rate fluctuations continue to challenge the reliability of radioisotope decay rates in general—and thus, the reliability of vast ages seemingly derived from radioisotope dating.