Radioactive Decay Rates Not Stable | The Institute for Creation Research
Radioactive Decay Rates Not Stable

For about a century, radioactive decay rates have been heralded as steady and stable processes that can be reliably used to help measure how old rocks are. They helped underpin belief in vast ages and had largely gone unchallenged. But certain decay rates apparently aren’t as stable as some would hope.

Several decades ago, strange fluctuations were observed in several radioactive decay systems. These systems have unstable nuclei that emit various particles and radiation until they stabilize. It was finally established that these seasonal fluctuations corresponded to the distance between the earth and the sun. When the earth is closest to the sun, solar neutrinos evidently accelerate nuclear decay.1

Now, Italian research shows evidence that a process called “cavitation” accelerated the nuclear decay of thorium (Th228). In particular, it seems that cavitation caused radioactive thorium decay to accelerate by a factor of 10,000 times during a 90-minute experiment.2 Cavitation can occur when water flows so fast that vapor bubbles are produced. These bubbles collapse to produce shock waves—very powerful on tiny scales—that have been known to rapidly destroy boat propellers and pump parts, catastrophically erode water tunnels, and create light sparks. Cavitation may also affect the nuclei of atoms in heavily resonating solutions.

The mutability of decay rates is not a surprise to some scientists. Creation researchers had found clear evidence that radioactive decay was accelerated dramatically in the recent past. For example, some radioactive decay acceleration event must have been the cause of the profusion of helium atoms that exist in zircon crystals associated with radioactive uranium.3

Whether cavitation, neutrinos, or something else had a part in the accelerated nuclear decay of earth’s past is not yet known. What is known, however, is that the stability of radioactive decay is open to question. Likewise, the vast age assigned to the earth based on radioactive measurements is by no means set in stone.

References

  1. Mullins, J. 2009. Solar ghosts may haunt Earth's radioactive atoms. New Scientist. 2714: 42-45.
  2. Cardone, F., R. Mignani R. and A. Petrucci. 2009. Piezonuclear decay of thorium. Physics Letters A. 373 (22): 1956-1958.
  3. Humphreys, D. R. Young Helium Diffusion Age of Zircons Supports Accelerated Nuclear Decay. In Vardiman, L., A. A. Snelling, and E. F. Chaffin (eds.). Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Volume II. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, and Chino Valley, AZ: Creation Research Society: 25.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on August 5, 2009.

The Latest
CREATION PODCAST
What About Transitional Fossils? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Transitional fossils supposedly contain evidence of one kind of creature morphing into another, and purportedly provide proof for evolution. But is...

NEWS
Did Our Middle Ear Evolve from Fish Gills?
A recent SciTechDaily article begins by saying, “Embryonic and fossil evidence proves that the human middle ear evolved from the spiracle of fishes”1...

CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
Can Scripture Be Trusted? | Creation.Live Podcast: Episode 8
Both believers and skeptics can find themselves asking if Scripture can be taken at its word. Is it scientifically accurate? Can its history be trusted?...

NEWS
Cambrian Soft Tissue Defies Evolution
Paleontologists have discovered “early fossils [of] simple hollow tubes ranging from a few millimetres to many centimetres in length.”1...

NEWS
Fruit Fly Jitters
Researchers working with fruit flies–the ubiquitous lab animal–have discovered the flies are able to undergo an amazing ocular process called...

CREATION PODCAST
Can Radioisotope Dating Be Trusted? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Carbon dating is a common method used to determine the ages of fossils and other materials, but carbon14 deteriorates quite quickly. How can it still...

NEWS
Prepare for the Big Non-Event!
In 1950 the famed Italian physicist Enrico Fermi asked his coworkers at the lunch table the simple metaphysical question in regard to possible aliens...

NEWS
Move Toward the Enemy: Fighting for Truth in Science
Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the...

NEWS
Evolving Mammals?
The evolution of mammals from non-mammals, like the evolution of all other animal groups, has been, and will always be, problematic. English paleontologist...

NEWS
Butterfly Variation
Butterflies have made science news again, this time in regard to a master gene called WntA: “a combined team of researchers from Cornell University...