Reasons to Believe

New Evidence for Earth’s Antiquity

TNRTB Archive - Retained for reference information

Detection of a short-lived radioactive isotope provides new evidence for an old Earth. One of the most compelling evidences for an ancient Earth is the absence today of short-lived radioactive isotopes in the earth’s crust and in primitive meteorites left over from the time of the solar system’s formation. From a young-earth perspective, if Earth is only 6,000 -10,000 years old, then these short-lived radioactive isotopes should still be present on Earth and in meteorites, but because of their short half-lives (of perhaps hundreds or thousands of years) they have completely decayed. This new report provides evidence that short-lived radioactive isotopes were indeed present in primitive meteorites. Researchers detected the sulfur-36 isotope produced by chlorine-36 decay in the Ningqiang carbonaceous chondrite meteorite that dates to 4.560 billion years in age, close to the time that the solar system formed. Chlorine-36 (which has a half-life of 0.3 million years) would have become extinct within 6 million years after the solar system’s formation. Thus, Earth must be at least 6 million years old. This direct evidence for a short-lived radioactive isotope, and its absence in primitive meteorites today, compels the conclusion that the solar system, and hence the earth, is indeed old.

o   Yangting Lin et al., “Short-Lived Chlorine-36 in a Ca- and Al-Rich Inclusion from the Ningqiang Carbonaceous Chondrite”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 102 (2005): 1306-11.


·         Related Resource

o   Roger C. Wiens, “The Dynamics of Dating

·         Related Product

o   A Matter of Days, by Hugh Ross

Subjects: Scientific Evidence for an Old Earth

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.