Sample Geology Paper on Dating Grand Canyon’s Rocks

Dating Grand Canyon’s Rocks

Introduction

The issue of rock dating has been a controversial one. Some geologists claim that some rocks are million years old while others are thousand years old. Although there is relative truth in this assertion, both radiometric and relative methods of rock dating differ significantly. On one hand, relative method fails to give the exact age of rocks while on the other hand, radiometric method insists on providing exact ages of rocks. By providing the exact ages of the rock, old-earth geologists question the credibility of creation theory as depicted in the bible. On the other hand, by evaluating chronological events, young-earth geologists align their arguments with creation theory as depicted in the bible (Monroe & Wicander, 2009). In order to add a voice on this issue, I have chosen the third topic namely dating the rocks of the Grand Canyon to be my topic. By choosing this topic, I intend to compare and contrast the viewpoints of old-earth geologists with the viewpoints of young-earth geologists. In this regard, the purpose of this paper will be to compare and contrast the two viewpoints with an aim of identifying a reliable method of dating Grand Canyon’s rocks.

Old-earth secular view

To start with, old-earth geologists are known to give exact age to each rock they come across. Therefore, there is no doubt that they maintain that it is possible to determine the ages of all rocks found in Canyon. However, in the recent past, they seem to have changed their position regarding this issue and they want to change it. Although this may be informed by recent developments in geology, it weakens their case because they appear to contradict their long-standing argument on this issue (Monroe & Wicander, 2009). In arguing that rocks have definite ages, old-earth geologists claim that rock formation takes place through gradual processes that can provide valuable information relating to their ages.

 Young-earth view

As for the young-earth scientists, Grand Canyon’s rocks can only be dated using Noah’s flood theory. These scientists claim that the rocks in question were formed after Noah’s flooding. Accordingly, they can only be dated with reference to this flooding. Although these scientists differ significantly with their counterparts, they provide a reasonable method of dating the rocks in question because they provide a chronological record (Timmons & Karlstrom, 2012). However, they fail to provide the exact ages for the rocks in question. Although this viewpoint could be questionable, it tries to provide a set of events that can be evaluated to provide the relative age of the rocks. Therefore, the method can be relied upon because old-earth perspective has been found to be problematic with reference to the mechanism it uses to data these rocks.

Comparison of the viewpoints

Looking at the two groups of geologists it is evident that the two groups acknowledge the fact that rock formation is a gradual process. In a way, they both imply that the gradual processes through which rock formation took place can be relied upon in rock dating. As for the old-earth geologists, they claim that after rocks are formed they go through gradual cooling processes that can be used to determine the specific time each rock was formed. On the other hand, young-earth geologists claim that rock formation takes place over a period that can as well be used in rock dating. For the Grand Canyon’s rocks, young-earth viewpoint is that they were formed after Noah’s flooding was over. Consequently, with reference to the time Noah’s flooding took place, we can determine the age of the rocks in question. Apart from this, the two groups of geologists acknowledge the fact that time is an important aspect in rock formation and dating (Morris, 2007). Although they differ in their interpretation of time, they both agree that dating can only be done relative to certain periods. The old-earth geologists consider time in decay processes used to date rocks. On the other hand, young-earth geologists acknowledge this fact by evaluating events that lead to rock formation and subsequently to determining the age of rocks.

Contrast of the viewpoints

The difference between the two groups is that they use different methods of rock dating. On one hand, the old-earth scientists use radiometric method. This method uses radioactive elements in the process of dating rocks. On the other hand, the young-earth scientists use relative method of dating rocks. In contrast to their counterparts, these scientists evaluate events that led to rock formation as opposed to using radioactive elements in rock dating (Timmons & Karlstrom, 2012). In so doing, young-earth geologists provide sets of event that may be used in dating rocks.

The other difference is that old-earth scientists try to give exact date of each rock whereas young-earth scientists do not in any way try to do this. This difference can be attributed to the dating method that each group uses. As for the radiometric method used by old-earth geologists, this method can only provide exact date and time (Abbott & Cook, 2004). On the other hand, the relative method used by young-earth geologists cannot do this. Instead, it can only provide a set of events that can be used in determining the age of rocks. By so doing, this group of geologists tries to distance itself from the exact time that rock formation took place. Whether this is a strategy of running away from the truth, it has proved to be an efficient method of dating rocks in the case study because it gives a compelling explanation of rock formation and dating than radiometric method does.

 

Conclusion

The purpose of this paper has been to compare and contrast the viewpoints of old-earth geologists with the viewpoints of young-earth geologists in Grand Canyon’s rock dating. After an in-depth analysis, it has been clear that the two groups of geologists use different methods of rock dating. On one hand, it has been evident that young-earth geologists use relative method of dating rocks; thus, they do not give exact dates of rock formation. On the other hand, it has been clear that old-earth geologists use radiometric method of rock dating thereby they end up with exact dates of rock formation. In spite of this fact, it has been clear that the two groups of geologists consider time to be an important aspect in their dating processes. In addition, it has been clear that they both consider rock dating and formation to be gradual processes. In relation to these facts, it is clear that although young-earth geologists do not give exact age of Grand Canyon’s rocks, they provide a compelling explanation towards the age of these rocks. For this reason, young-earth geologists appear to provide a credible method of dating Grand Canyon’s rocks. This is in spite of the criticisms relating to the method they use.

 

References

Abbott, L. & Cook, T. (2004). Hiking the Grand Canyon’s geology. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers Books

Monroe, J. & Wicander, R. (2009). The changing Earth: Exploring geology and evolution. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

Morris, J. (2007). The young Earth: The real history of the Earth, past, present, and future. Green Forest, Ark: Master Books

Timmons, J. & Karlstrom, K. (2012). Grand Canyon geology: Two billion years of Earth’s history. Boulder, Colo: Geological Society of America.