Age of the Earth Part 2 - Physical/Chemical Counting Systems Correlations, Calibrations and Consilience
As noted in Part 1, Biological Counting Systems, we see many age deniers saying that dating methods are not accurate and are prone to errors. We saw from the Biological Counting Systems that several methods and independent data sets all correlated with and corroborated each other and showed remarkable consilience in several rather astounding ways, especially given that they are based on different mechanisms -- unless they are indeed accurate and precise records of actual age.
Once again, to address this issue of correlations, and the consilience of different systems, we now extend the counting systems into the physical and chemical methods used to determine annual layers and the measurements of age. We will start again with age measuring systems that involve direct methods of counting ages due to annual layers. As we move through different methods, we will discusses how those annual layer methods corroborate and agree with each other and how they corroborate and agree with the Biological Counting Systems.
We will also discuss how radiometric data and dating methods enter into the mix when appropriate. In addition, we will discuss correlations and consilience not just with different age measuring mechanisms, but with past climate changes and certain known events or ancient artifacts that occurred in the past, things that show up in multiple records just where they should be if the age measurements are accurate.
Again, I do not ask you to discard your skepticism, I just ask that you temper it with an open mind.
The challenge for the age deniers is not just to describe how a single method can be wrong, but how they can all be wrong at the same time and in the same way to produce virtually identical results (within the margins of error) - when random results or systematic errors in different methods should produce notably different results:
The challenge for old age deniers (especially young earth proponents) is to explain why the same basic results occur from different measurement systems if they are not measuring actual age?
Additional information has become available since the last version of this topic, and I felt it should be combined with the previous version in a new revised and updated thread because it is important to understand the kind of work scientists do to validate their methods. In addition, there are a couple of corrections that I need to make for scientific accuracy, some assertions of a dubious nature have been dropped, and (finally), I will continue using a slightly different format from previous threads (and I'll continue using the Definitions of Some Terms Used from Part 1 (Message 2)):
This part covers:
Message 2: Basics of Ice Layer Counting Message 3: The Dunde Ice Core, showing the earth is at least 4,617 years old (2017) Message 4: Greenland Ice Cores, Part A: Countable Layers, a floating chronology of over 60,000 years Message 5: Ice Cores, Tree Rings and Volcanoes Message 6: Ice Cores, 14C and 10Be ... (more to be added later)
Again, people who want to review the earlier versions of this work can do so at:
As yet, even though several attempts have been made to question individual methods, the consilience of the different methods arriving at the same basic results has not yet been explained or even attempted.
Note: all images used on this thread, and subsequent posts that this one refers to with links, may be copied to a mirror site - without any modification or any intent to take credit for them. In every case I reference the original site where they can be viewed in context and verified as needed. The only purposes to copying the images is (a) to include PDF images, (b) to reduce band-width traffic on the original websites when these images are accessed, and (c) to ensure that the images are available in these post should the original sources be changed or removed from the web.
Tree-rings and lake varves are not the only system that build annual layers that can be measured and counted. Snow and ice also follow annual patterns in their formation and deposition that allow a number of ways to determine the annual layers.
To introduce the basic methods we will start with a fairly simple but dramatic set of annual ice layers:
(slide 1):The Peruvian altiplano is a high plateau ranging in altitude from 3500 to over 4000 meters above sea level. Though the altiplano is a cold, harsh environment, large herds of hardy llamas such as these hint at the richness of South America's high grasslands. The Quelccaya ice cap rises in the background, 55 km2 of ice that provides important clues on climatic change and variability in the South American tropics. The ice sheet's summit elevation is 5670 m and its maximum summit thickness is 164 m.
The Quelccaya cap terminates abruptly and spectacularly in a 55 m ice cliff. The annual accumulation layers clearly visible in the photograph are an average of .75 m thick. While snow can fall during any season on the altiplano, most of it (80-90%) arrives between the months of November and April. The distinct seasonality of precipitation at Quelccaya results in the deposition of the dry season dust bands seen in the ice cliff. These layers are extremely useful to the paleoclimatologist because they allow ice core records to be dated very accurately using visual stratigraphy, which is simply the visual identification of annual dust layers in ice records (in most ice cores, annual layers become indistinct at depth, forcing paleoclimatologists to rely on less-accurate ice-flow models to establish chronologies; at Quelccaya, on the other hand, annual layers are visible throughout the core).
(slide 9): Three deep core sections (from 122m, 130m, and 139m) show distinct annual bands produced by the deposition of dust during the dry season (dry season dust layers are represented by triangles). While annual bands provide accurate relative dating (the age of each ice band is known to be a year apart from directly adjacent bands), paleoclimatologists also search for absolute dates within a core chronology. The surface of the ice cap provides one absolute date. For example, the top layer of a core drilled in 1983 is known to date from 1983; scientists can then date deeper layers relative to the surface. Scientists also attempt to locate absolute dates deeper in the core to improve the accuracy of the chronology. At Quelccaya, for instance, a thick layer of volcanic ash was found in a layer initially dated at 1598. Looking into historical records of colonial Peru, paleoclimatologists found that a massive eruption of the volcano Huaynaputina had occurred in 1600. Using the absolute date of 1600 for this layer, they were able to revise their chronology and improve its accuracy.
(slide 11): ... Two of the analyses performed on the cores are presented here, accumulation and the oxygen isotope ratio (known as d18O). Accumulation is a measure of annual layer thickness normalized to account for the compression of ice layers at depth and corrected for ice flow dynamics. The oxygen isotope ratio (a measure of the ratio of heavy oxygen (18O) to light oxygen (16O)) is a proxy measure for paleotemperature, though it also reflects changes in snow surface processes and water-vapor history.
One of the most salient features in the last millennium of climate history is the Little Ice Age, a loosely-defined period of cold temperatures and increased climatic variability that has been documented in many parts of the globe.* As this figure shows, the Little Ice Age is identified in the Quelccaya climate record as a period of 'colder' (more negative) d18O roughly bracketed between 1550 A.D. and 1900 A.D. The accumulation record is more complex, showing a pronounced wet period before 1700 followed by significantly drier conditions thereafter.
Note that they are talking about correlating layers with climate information provided by 18O. We'll also come across this in other measurement systems. This is the proportion of a "heavy" isotope of oxygen in the atmosphere (16O is "normal" weight oxygen).
While this series of layers only date back to ~500AD they are important for a couple of reasons: they show visible layers, and they allow calibration of the oxygen isotope ratio (d18O or δ18O) as a measure of layers and of climate. These layers also show a period of sever weather that is known from history (the Little Ice Age) and the effects of a volcanic eruption nearby that occurred in 1600 AD. These results and methodology can then be applied to other ice cores.
(Slide 14): The Dunde Ice Cap (pronounced Dun-duh) is extremely remote, perched on the mountain range separating China's highest desert, the Qaidam Basin, from its more famous counterpart, the Gobi. For over 40,000 years, snow has been piling up on this 60 km2 ice cap deep in China's sparsely inhabited interior. A team of paleoclimatologists from the United States and China came here in 1987 to uncover the climatic secrets locked in Dunde's icy depths.
(Slide 18): The most prominent feature in the Dunde ice record is the transition between the last glacial maximum (in the Pleistocene epoch) and the present Holocene epoch. Less negatived 18O measurements suggest that temperatures were cooler during in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau during the Pleistocene, while high particle concentrations show that conditions were much dustier. Very low concentrations of NO3-, Cl-, and SO4-2 during the glacial period may reflect higher precipitation rates during the last glacial maximum.
The same kind of alternating layers of dust and snow as at Quelccaya, the same kind of climate information from the oxygen isotope ratio (d18O), data that matches known climate markers, including the last ice age, data that also showed up in Lake Suigetsu climate information. Research on the Dunde Ice Cores is continuing, including analysis of the dust and pollen as markers not just of climate but of environment.
Pollen preserved in ice cores from the Dunde ice cap provides a sensitive record of Holocene climatic changes and vegetational response in the northern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau at time scales ranging from millennia to centuries and decades. Pollen analysis of the annually resolvable ice layers for a 30 yr period (19571986) suggests that total pollen concentration is correlated positively with summer precipitation and negatively with summer temperature; thus it is a sensitive indicator of moisture availability and vegetation density in the steppe and desert regions around Dunde. High pollen concentrations between 10 000 and 4800 yr B.P. suggest that the summer monsoon probably extended beyond its present limit to reach Dunde and westernmost Tibet in response to orbital forcing. The summer monsoon retreated time-transgressively across the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau during the middle Holocene. Relatively humid periods occurred at 27002200, 1500800, and 60080 yr B.P., probably as a result of neoglacial cooling. Prominent pollen changes during the Medieval Warm Period (790620 yr B.P.) and the Little Ice Age (33080 yr B.P.) suggest that the vegetation in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau region is sensitive to abrupt, century-scale climatic changes, such as those anticipated in scenarios of greenhouse warming.
The insoluble microparticle concentrations and size distributions and oxygen isotope abundances (δ18O) in two 1-meter ice cores from the margin of the Dunde ice cap (38° 06 'N; 96° 24 'E; 5325 masl) drilled in 1986 and three ice cores drilled to bedrock at the summit of the ice cap in 1987 suggest the presence of Wisconsin/Wόrm Glacial Stage (LWGS) ice in the subtropics. A Sino-American research group recovered three ice cores 136, 138 and 139 m in length from the summit of the Dunde ice cap in the Qilian Shan which are providing long, high temporal resolution climatic and environmental records for the NE section of the Tibetan Highlands. Particulate concentrations, conductivity and δ18O are the ice core constituents best established as indicators of the glacial/interglacial transition. The analyses of two shallow cores from the margin reveal a 14-fold increase in particulate concentration which is correlative with a 1% to 5% decrease (more negative) in δ18O. The lower 10 to 13 m of three ice cores drilled to bedrock at the summit contain a ten-fold increase in dust (both soluble and insoluble) and a 1.2% decrease in oxygen isotopes. Additionally, the morphological properties of the particles in the LWGS ice are identical to those of the thick, extensive loess deposits of central china which accumulated during the cold, dry glacial stages of the Pleistocene. When the climatic and environmental records are fully extracted from the three deep cores they will provide a very detailed record of variations in particulates (soluble and insoluble), stable isotopes, net balance, pollen and perhaps atmospheric gases of CO2 and methane through the Holocene into the last glacial in the subtropics on the climatically important Tibetan Plateau.
These weather patterns were also seen in the tree ring data, so that is another consilience between different sets of data. We also see evidence of the end of the last glaciation period in the dust and pollen in the layers of ice from the Dunde Ice Core in addition to the evidence of the δ18O ratios. Data that also makes the concept of a world wide flood (WWF) within this period difficult, as the dust every year is of the same type and the thickness of ice and dust layers are the same from year to year indicating that the ice cap has not changed locations nor floated on water at any time in its history.
ABSTRACT The first ice-core record of both the Holocene and Wisconsin/Wiirm Late Glacial Stage (LGS) from the subtropics has been extracted from three ice cores to bedrock from the Dunde ice cap on the north-central Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. ... The ice cores have been dated using a combination of annual layers in the insoluble dust and δ18O in the upper sections of core, visible dust layers which are annual, and ice-flow modeling. The oxygen isotope record which serves as a temperature proxy indicates that the last 60 years have been the warmest in the entire record.
Total β radioactivity horizons from the upper parts of the 1987 D-1 and D-3 cores, as well as from the 1986 summit cores, provide time stratigraphic markers (Fig. 6) for verification of seasonal variability of MPC and d180. As demonstrated in Figure 6, the 1963 radioactivity horizon is pronounced and provides an average accumulation rate of -400 m of Hp, which is twice the 1980-86 rate of -200 m (H20 equivalent) determined from snow-pit studies (Thompson and others, 1988b); however, it is similar to the measured values of -350 m (H20 equivalent) from 31 summit stakes for the 1986-87 accumulation year.
... The measured layer thicknesses from the visible dust layers as a function of depth are shown in Figure 8. Counting the annual δ18O and MPC peaks down to 70 m, and the visible dust layers below 70 m, provides an age of about 4550 year B.P. at 117 m depth. If annual layers could be identified down to the stratigraphic transition at 129.2 m depth (125.8 m ice equivalent), the corresponding age could be determined by simply counting the number of layers. Unfortunately, annual layers are too thin to be discerned below about 117 m depth. ...
All these analyses lead us to conclude that the lower 10 m in the Dunde ice cap represent ice deposited during the last glacial stage. The high dust concentrations correlate closely with δ18O depletion (temperature proxy) as found in all polar cores extending below the LGS/Holocene transition. ...
So while the total age is estimated at ~40,000 years, the actual counted layers only extend back to 4550 BP (1950) or 2601 BCE.
The earth is at least 4,617 years old (2017)
Minimum age of the earth is > 4,617 years in 2017, based on the accurate and precise dust layers counts extending back to 2601 BCE, and it is probably much older, due to the ~40,000 year old estimated age for the ice cap. This also means that there was no major flood event during this time that would have floated the ice away from these mountains.
Just as the "Ancient Sentinels" foretold a dendrochronology extending well beyond the ages of The Oldest Known Non-Clonal Trees, in Message 3, of Part 1, Biological Counting Systems, these two ice core chronologies foretell of much longer core chronologies.
And this is but the tip of the iceberg, they may seem insignificant compared to the previous biological dating systems at this point, but they form an accurate and preciese foundation for building a whole ice core chronology: both the Quelccaya and the Dunde chronologies are solidly anchored to the present day.
Thompson, Lonnie G., "Wisconsin/Wόrm glacial stage ice in the subtropical dunde ice cap, China" GeoJournal Vol 17, No 4 Dec 1988 DOI 10.1007/BF00209440 P517-523, SpringerLink Date 20 Oct 2004 accessed 19 Jan 2007 from http://www.springerlink.com/content/wu102k4348572506/
Ice core drilling in Greenland was initiated in 1955 and since then numerous short ice cores and several deep ice cores have been retrieved from the Greenland ice sheet. The newest deep drilling project NEEM commenced in 2007 and has the goal of retrieving an undisturbed record of the full Eemian interglacial period 115,000 - 130,000 year ago.
Drilling ice cores in the middle of the Greenland ice sheet is a demanding task. Researchers and logistics personnel live for weeks or months at a time in a camp constructed purely for the purpose of retrieving ice cores. People live above ground in tents or in a wooden dome building, while the drilling and handling of the ice cores take place under the surface.
Drilling ice cores
The key to a successful ice core drilling is the highly specialized ice core drill. The ice core drills that are used for the drilling projects today have been developed over decades and build on the knowledge, experience and hard work of many people. Different drills are needed for different drilling depths because the conditions change with depth through the ice cap.
This process of data collection and analysis has been continually improved since the first cores were taken, and is now a highly technical and precise methodology. The accuracy depends on two factors: (a) being able to count the layers and (b) knowing how they connect to the present day.
The measurements on the ice from the ice core have little or no scientific value if they cannot be related to a specific time or time period. It is therefore one of the most important tasks before and after an ice core has been drilled to establish a time scale for the ice core. Dating of ice cores is done using a combination of annual layer counting and computer modelling. Ice core time scales can be applied to other ice cores or even to other archives of past climate using common horizons in the archives.
Dating by annual layer counting
Annual layers in the ice can be counted like annual rings in a tree. The layers of the ice core get older and older as you go from top to bottom. The layers are identified from measured variations in ice composition and impurity content. More than 60,000 annual layers have been counted in Greenland ice cores, resulting in the new GICC05 time scale that makes high-resolution studies of past climate change possible.
Using ash layers to link ice cores with other climate records
If we can find an ash layer with the same chemical fingerprint in an ice core and in a sediment core from the sea or a lake, we can conclude that the ash originates from the same volcanic eruption. Hence, this layer must have the same age in all the cores and, hereby, we can link the climate profiles together using this layer. The more ash layers we can find in the cores, the better the cores can be linked and the better we can compare the climate profiles in order to interpret how the climate system in the past has worked.
So we have a floating chronology of over 60,000 years and we need to tether it before it can be used to define how old the earth is with accuracy and precision, and that will be discussed in the next posts, [msg=5], Ice Cores, Tree Rings and Volcanoes and [msg=6], Ice Cores, 14C and 10Be.
Note that this age should not come as any great surprise, as we already have a minimum age of 42,021 years (in 2017) from the Lake Suigetsu Varves, Message 21 in Part 1, Biological Counting Systems. What should come as a surprise to age deniers is the correlations between the biological systems and the physical systems that show a remarkable consilience ... unless they are both measuring actual age.
 The grid of precisely dated tree-ring records allowed the first clear recognition of short-term abrupt hemispheric environmental downturns; one of which lay in the 6th century and spanned 536545 [Baillie, 1994]. When first recognised it was believed that the likely cause would be volcanic in line with the 536 dry fog observations of Stothers and Rampino [1983a]. By 1994 it was apparent that no significant volcanic signal was present in any of the ice cores in the vicinity of 536545 [Hammer, 1984; Zielinski et al., 1994]. ...
 Of interest here, the consensus 6th century acidities at 514516, 529, 533534 and 567568 (the latter three presented by Larsen et al. ) are entirely consistent with the revised Dye-3 chronology which underpins the integrated European ice core chronology presented by Vinther et al. . This means that, should there be any problem with the European ice chronology it would most likely trace back to Dye-3 and its revision.
3.1. Frost Rings in Bristlecone Pines
 There may be a possible check on the dating of the 514516, 529, 533534 and 567568 acidities. LaMarche and Hirschboeck  showed that frost rings tended to occur in Western North American bristlecone pines in the years of, or the years immediately after, explosive volcanic eruptions. They pointed to frost rings in 1912 (Katmai, Alaska), 1884 (the year after Krakatau), 1601 (Huaynaputina, Peru) [Briffa et al., 1998] and at 43 BC, the year after the historical 44 BC dust veil [Stothers and Rampino, 1983a, 1983b]. In total they claimed that 10 of 17 frost rings between 1500 and 1965 could be attributed to the effects of volcanism. They also set the controversy running with respect to the dating of Thera (Santorini) with their suggestion that a severe frost-ring event in 1627 BC might be related to that eruption [Hughes, 1988]. Thus, there exists at least a strong hint that frost rings in bristlecone pines can result from climate upset due to significant volcanic eruptions.
 Salzer and Hughes  published a comprehensive list of frost ring occurrences in bristlecone pines. For the 6th century their dates are: 522, 532, 536, 541 and 574. If these frost rings and the ice acidities are tabulated across the 6th century, a pattern emerges; see Table 1. Each ice-core acid layer is followed at an interval of around seven years by a frost ring in bristlecone pines. The logic of the first and second columns in Table 1, given the tendency of frost rings to be related to explosive volcanism, is that the ice core dates may be too old by around 7 years in the 6th century.
 The logic of Table 1 is that all four volcanic acid dates should move forward in time to conform to the fixed dates of the frost rings; making the dates of the acid in the Greenland ice 522, 536, 541 and 574 (or possibly one year earlier to allow for the fact that the frost rings may be the result of volcanic eruptions in the year of the frost ring or the year before). These dates would completely change the interpretation put forward by Larsen et al.  while at the same time making a more robust scenario.
 Moving the dates proposed by Larsen et al.  forward by seven years (or their revised dates by four or five years) would mean that each volcano produced clear environmental effects in trees. In particular, the eruption dated to 529 would now cause the 536 dry fog and frost ring, and the first stage of the two-stage environmental event, while the 533.5 eruption would cause the second stage and the 541 frost ring.
This provides four solid anchor points for the ice core chronology. Note that tethering the ice core to the original dates (514516, 529, 533534 and 567568), the revised dates or the frost ring dates (522, 536, 541 and 574) means a shift of the whole chronology by 6 or 7 years at most, and becomes less of an issue the older in time we go. At the end of 60,000 years a 7 year error would be an error of 0.012%, and thus would be precise and accurate at that time.
As was noted in Message 4, Greenland Ice Cores, Part A: Countable Layers ash in lake sediments could also link the ice cores to known incidents of volcanic activity.
In the past week a new paper has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (Astronomically calibrated 40Ar/39Ar age for the Toba supereruption and global synchronization of late Quaternary records) which is open access and describes further efforts to pin down the date of the Toba super eruption. In that paper they calculated a date of 73.88 +/- 0.33 thousand years for the deposition of ash in Malaysia to the east of the Toba crater. The importance of this date is that before this the estimated dates of the explosion ranged from 70 to 80 thousand years ago ...
One core taken in north Greenland reaches nearly two miles in-depth and at 2548 meter depth mark there is a large sulfate anomaly. Sulfates in the ice are indicative of fallout of the sulfur compounds that are released by volcanic eruptions. Only the largest eruptions release enough sulfates to be distributed around the globe in high enough concentrations that they would easily identified in the snow fall and eventually ice production in Greenland. Some recent volcanic explosions are recorded in these cores like Krakatoa which is found in the top few meters of the ice core. The critical features of the ice cores is that right after this sulfate spike at 2548 meters there is evidence (based on Oxygen isotopes) that the following several hundred years, as recorded in the ice, were much colder. There is a similar sulfate spike in the east Antarctica ice core (Svensson et al. 2012). Those sulfate spikes in the ice cores that are dated to 74 thousand years are very likely the result of the Toba super eruption and with a more precise date for the Toba explosion it is now possible to synchronize events at different places on the globe to this event. ...
The argon/argon dating cannot be used for our annual counting method, but this shows the ice core date for this volcanic eruption.
So how does this crude estimate based on distance divided by radiometric data stack up to other estimates of sedimentation? Quite well it seems. The current rate of sedimentation in this part of Lake Malawi is around 0.03 to 0.04 cm/year. C14 dates have been taken from multiple positions along the core and in each case dividing the distance between those positions and the dates derived yields values of 0.03 to 0.04 cm/year. Some variation would be expected because the climate has changed in this area from arid times to wetter times which would change the amount of sediment input into the lake. But the overall picture is one where the rate of current sediment accumulation has been relatively constant over a very long time. This Toba ash layer is 28 meters (89 feet) deep and the sediments in the core provide no evidence of any large sudden influx of sediments but rather is fairly uniform except for many very thin layers of ash from volcanic eruptions in central Africa.
Generalized cartoon graph of the relationship between the age of sediments and their depths in cores from the middle of lake Malawi in Africa. The slope of the line drawn through the radiometric dates predicts the rate of sediment deposition each year. Following the line down through where the Toba ash is found in the column finds that the Toba ash is predicted to be 70 to 80 thousand years old which is in the range it has been dated in other locations.
... The Toba volcanic eruption has been dated many times from many locations and has come up as being 74,000 years old. Now ash identified as being from this particular volcanic explosion has been found at 28 meter below the surface. Estimates of sedimentation rate, based on radiometric dating, that were already known for this location in the lake PREDICT that the Toba ash should be found about at this depth in the sediment column and that is where it was found ...
While this does not provide sufficient information to tether the ice core chronology, what it does show is the remarkable congruence of data from the tree ring chronology (see Part 1, Biological Counting Systems, that was validated with high accuracy and precision in Message 16, Anchoring The Floating German Pine Chronology), the age for the volcanic eruption is the ice core chronology, and the projected sedimentation rate in the lake converging on the same point with consilience that can only happen if these different systems are correctly measuring the same thing: the actual age of these items.
There are two ways to tether ice cores to tree rings, and the first was discussed in Message 5, Ice Cores, Tree Rings and Volcanoes. The second method is to use the concentrations of Berillium-10 in the layers.
Beryllium-10 records from ice cores ... can also be used to link ice cores with tree ring chronologies. The method uses that the atmosphere's Carbon-14 (14C) and Beryllium-10 concentrations share a common signal. The fundamental idea is that the production rates of 14C and 10Be vary in the same way because the two isotopes are produced by similar processes in the atmosphere. However, the method is complicated by the fact that the 14C concentration of the atmosphere also is influenced by changes in the global carbon cycle (e.g. variations in the uptake of carbon in the oceans). Therefore the 10Be - 14C synchronization involves a modelling step to account for the influence from the carbon cycle on the 14C concentration. Often, the comparison of the 10Be and 14C records is performed by converting the 10Be data into values of past atmospheric radiocarbon concentrations denoted Δ14C and comparing these with Δ14C measured in tree rings. The matching is illustrated in the figure below.
The similar pattern in the reconstructed past atmospheric radiocarbon concentrations (Δ14C) from ice core 10Be data (red) and tree-ring 14C data (black) can be used to provide a direct time-link between ice cores and tree rings. Modified from Muscheler et. al (2000), Nature, Vol. 408
This is like wiggle matching 14C data to tether the marine and lake varves.
10Be is produced from the interaction of the cosmic rays with the atmosphere. The 10Be production is governed by changes in solar activity and the Earth's magnetic field which modulate the incoming cosmic ray intensity. The 10Be particles typically remain in the atmosphere for 1-2 years before they are deposited on the surface of the Earth, and thus also on the ice caps. Due to the short lifetime in the atmosphere, large variations in the 10Be production are recorded as synchronous events globally.
Therefore, ice core records can be synchronized using measured profiles of the Beryllium-10 (10Be ) content. The method is especially powerful for linking ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland because the 10Be signal is a global signal that is recorded simultaneously in both hemispheres. Events of high atmospheric 10Be production rates in the past are recorded in the ice cores as peak values and can be used for synchronizing the cores. An important link between Antarctic and Greenland ice cores is the prominent geomagnetic excursion known as the Laschamp event that took place approximately 41,000 years ago, which caused approx. double 10Be production rates and which is clearly visible in the 10Be records.
The Berillium-10 is a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 1.39 Χ 10^6 years(3), and thus decays slowely; it is removed from the atmosphere by gravity and deposited on the surface. The accuracy of this wiggle-matching is on a par with the tree frost ring and volcano accuracy in Message 5: Ice Cores, Tree Rings and Volcanoes.
Annually resolved terrestrial 10Be archives other than those in polar ice sheets are heretofore unexplored sources of information about past solar activity and climate. Until now, it has proven difficult to find natural archives that have captured and retained a 10Be production signal, and that allow for annual sampling and contain sufficient 10Be for AMS measurement. We report the first annually resolved record of 10Be in varved lake sediments. The record comes from Lake Lehmilampi, eastern Finland, ...
... The focus on the last 100 years provided an unprecedented opportunity to compare sediment 10Be data with annual ice core, neutron monitor and sunspot number data. Results indicate successful recovery of 10Be atoms from as little as 20 mg sediment. Sediment 10Be accumulation rates suggest control by solar activity, manifested as a reflection of the 11-year Schwabe solar cycle and its amplitude variations throughout the investigated period. These results open the possibility of using varved lake sediment 10Be records as a new proxy for solar activity, thus providing a new approach for synchronization of paleoclimate events worldwide.
... However, presence of distinct, easily recognizable varves served as fix points for certain years (1910, 1931, 1944, 1968) and prevented major errors in annual sampling. Comparison of distinctive peaks in ash weights determined by sample combustion, with variations in mineral content established by X-ray analysis, indicates that subsamples diverge only 02 years from the X-ray data, which was used to establish varve chronology. Comparison of sample loss-on-ignition patterns with X-ray-derived organic matter content, shows the same magnitude of time-depth deviations.
Digital analysis of X-ray images has been used to distinguish between dark sum (DS), which describes the organic content, and light sum (LS), which is connected to the mineral content of the sediment. LS and DS values are related to grayscale values and the number of pixels in each varve in a single pixel-wide line drawn perpendicular to the varve structure (Haltia-Hovi et al. 2007; Ojala and Francus 2002). In this study, we made use of the X-ray-derived relative fraction of organic matter in each varve, where XOM [%] = DS/(DS+LS) x 100. Shifts in values of XOM are considered relative variations, not absolute organic content, because the values are related to varve thickness, which includes water content.
Measured sediment parameters
We present 10Be concentration, dry and ignited weight and loss on ignition (LOI) in Lake Lehmilampi annual sediment samples from the period 19002006 (Fig. 2). Also shown is XOM, which indicates relative variations of the organic fraction as described in the previous section, and varve thickness derived from image analysis (Haltia-Hovi et al. 2007). ...
The solar sunspot cycle will be discussed in Part 3, Radiometric and Cosmogenic Counting Systems, along with it's effect on the 14C record.
This is an anchored chronology with an error of +/-1 year that we can compare directly (wiggle-match) with the 10Be data in the ice cores, so we have 3 accurate and precise ways to tether the ice core chronology to the present day -- tree frost rings, 10Be to 14C wiggle-match, and d10Be to 10Be wiggle-match. This gives us a very precise and accurate start for the ice core data.
GICC05 TIME SCALE REFERENCES The GICC05 chronology extends to 60.2 ka b2k, and has been published in several stages: - Main Holocene part: Vinther et al., Journ. Geophys. Res. 111, D13102, 2006. DOI: 10.1029/2005JD006921 - Late glacial / Early Holocene part: Rasmussen et al., Journ. Geophys. Res. 111, D06102, 2006. DOI: 10.1029/2005JD006079 - 16-42 ka part: Andersen et al., Quat. Sci. Rev. 25, p. 3246-3257, 2006. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.08.002 - 42-60 ka part: Svensson et al., Clim. Past 4, 2008, www.clim-past.net/4/47/2008/. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.08.003
CONTENTS OF THIS FILE This datafile contains the following sheets 1) This description 2) NGRIP-1 depth (m), delta O18 (permil), GICC05 age (yr b2k) and age uncertainty (yr) for the 9.85-1371.60 m depth interval. The 9.85-349.80 m interval is in 2.5 cm depth resolution, the deeper samples are in 5cm resolution 3) NGRIP-2 depth (m), delta O18 (permil), insoluble dust concentration (ml^-1), GICC05 age (yr b2k) and age uncerainty (yr) for the 1346.45-2426.00 m depth interval in 5cm resolution The insoluble dust concentration is the number of insoluble particles larger than one micron per milli-liter of melt water Depths and ages refer to the bottom of the sampling interval for water isotopes and dust concentrations.
AGES AND AGE UNCERTAINTIES All ages are given in years b2k (years before 2000 CE). The age uncertainty is the Maximum Counting Error (MCE) The age uncertainties are given as the "MCE" that is the Maximum Counting Error of the GICC05 time scale. See Rasmussen et al. (Journ. Geophys. Res. 111, D06102, 2006) for a full description. In a standard deviation context, the maximum counting error should be regarded as 2 sigma as discussed in Andersen et al., Quat. Sci. Rev. 25, p. 3246-3257, 2006.
The earth is at least 60,217 years old (2017)
The minimum age for the earth is at least 60,217 years (2017), based on the accurate and precise ice core dust layer counts, or back to 58,201 BCE. This also means that there was no major catastrophic event that would have disturbed layer deposition during this time.
Compare this to YEC models (6,000 years for those using Archbishop Usher's assumption filled calculations of a starting date of 4004 BCE), as this chronology extends to 58,201 BCE ... with no flood damage.
These are just the visibly countable layers in the ice cores, and the data extends much further into the past. This is indeed just the tip of the iceberg.
Berggren, A. -M., Aldahan, A., Possnert, G., Haltia-Hovi, E., Saarinen, T., "10Be and solar activity cycles in varved lake sediments, AD 19002006," J Paleolimnol (2010) 44:559569, DOI 10.1007/s10933-010-9437-1, http://www.leif.org/EOS/Varves-10Be-Berggren.pdf
Ruth, U., Wagenbach, D., Steffensen, J. P., and Bigler, M.: Continuous record of microparticle concentration and size distribution in the central Greenland NGRIP ice core during the last glacial period, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, 4098, doi:4010.1029/2002JD002376, 2003. http://www.iceandclimate.nbi.ku.dk/..._d18O_and_dust_5cm.xls
In Message 4, Greenland Ice Cores, Part A: Countable Layers, they talked about ages beyond the 60,000+ visible dust layers ... how do they count the layers beyond the threshold of distinguishing the dust layers?
An ice sheet consists of layers (strata) of snow and ice, almost like a giant sandwich. In the inner part of the ice sheet where more snow accumulates than melts and evaporates (the so-called accumulation zone), a new layer of snow is deposited on top of the previous layer of snow every year.
The buried snow layers get compressed as more snow falls on top (read more about the transformation of snow to ice here). The layers are slowly transformed into ice and they are becoming thinner and older as they move downwards through the ice sheet and eventually melt or break off as icebergs at the ice sheet's margins. The mapping and study of the layering in the ice is called stratigraphy.
Each depositional event (e.g. a snow storm) is clearly seen as a distinct layer. Summer and winter snow can often be distinguished by a hard surface, or even sometimes a melt layer, at the top of each summer layer. This is very handy, as the layers in this way can be used for dating purposes, counting from the top how many summer and winter layers there are above a given depth. However, more sophisticated methods are needed in order to get accurate dating, especially because the visible stratification is less clear when the snow has been compressed into glacial ice. To distinguish the layers, analysis of the core is needed.
Measurements of the isotopic composition of the ice and the small amounts of impurities in the ice all show stratification that can be used for annual layer counting. The most well-known method is to use the stable isotope composition of the ice, but the best dating is achieved when many different records with annual layering are used in parallel to identify the annual layers.
In the visible layers they can distinguish between single snowstorm events and total winter accumulation, but beyond the visible count layers, one of the ways they use to count layers is the stable isotope composition of the ice:
Ice consists of water molecules made of atoms that come in versions with slightly different mass, so-called isotopes. Variations in the abundance of the heavy isotopes relative to the most common isotopes can be measured and are found to reflect the temperature variations through the year. For ice, the abundance of the heavy isotopes of Hydrogen and Oxygen is the δD and δ180 values, respectively (pronounced delta-Deuterium" and "delta-O-18 value"). The values are always given in per mille () and are negative for glacier ice. Follow these links to learn more about how to measure the stable isotope ratios, stable isotopes as indicators of past temperatures and the δ notation or read more about how stable isotope data are used for dating below. In the following, dating using oxygen isotope data (δ180) is described, although exactly the same techniques can be applied when using hydrogen isotope data (δD).
The annual cycle in δ180 is connected to local or regional temperature variations and is a very reliable indicator of the seasonal temperature cycle. The graph below shows how the isotopes correlate with the local temperature over a few years in the early 1990s at the GRIP drill site:
The clarity of the annual signal in the isotope data makes counting of annual layers in δ180 data one of the most accurate ways of dating ice cores. At least the upper parts of most Greenland ice cores have therefore been dated from thousands of δ180 samples that have been individually cut from the ice core, packed, and measured in a mass spectrometer (read more about the measurements here).
As the ice layers get older, the isotopes slowly move around and gradually weaken the annual signal. This process is called diffusion and sets the limit for far back in time annual layers can be identified using δ180 data.
This approach is limited, and cannot be used for the total depth of the core, so another method is employed:
When dating an ice core by counting annual layers, one can use data of any kind that has an annual cycle. The variation in isotopic composition (δ18O and δD) of the ice reflects the annual temperature cycle and is the most widely used parameter for annual layer counting in ice cores (read more about this here), but this approach cannot be used for the older parts of ice cores or from ice cores from sites with low annual snow accumulation.
The dust content and the concentration of many chemical impurities in the ice also show seasonal variations and can therefore be used for annual layer counting. The advantage is that the impurities are unaffected by diffusion and can be used to identify annual layers in ice of any age, and that high-resolution measurements of ice impurities produce several parallel data series that can be used for dating, thereby making the annual layer identification process more robust.
... Many of these impurities exhibit regular concentration variations during the year that can be used for annual layer identification. An example is the dust content of the ice. Dust is brought to Greenland with the wind and deposits on the ice sheet. A part of the dust is soluble and dust is for example responsible for the main part of the Calcium ions found in the ice, while the insoluble dust particles are detected using light scattering. The measurements show that during interglacial climate conditions (similar to the current climate), the dust content peaks every year in spring when storms bring in relatively large amounts of dust. The Sodium concentration in contrast, peaks in winter, while the concentrations of Nitrate and Ammonium peak in summer. Using the measurements of these impurities and their relative timing, it is possible to identify the annual layers with a very high confidence. During glacial times, the timing differences disappear and all impurity records with an annual signal seems to peak at the same time in winter/spring.
The plot shows an example from the dating of the NorthGRIP ice core. The section shown here is from the Younger Dryas, a period with cold conditions at the very end of the last glacial, approximately 12,000 years ago. The annual layer thickness is about 3 centimeters. The lower 4 curves show concentrations of Calcium, Nitrate, Sodium, and Sulphate ions in the ice, the blue curve shows the conductivity of melted ice samples, the brown curve shows the dust content, and the black curve is a greyscale record of the visible layers in the ice (high values corresponding to pale "milky" layers in the ice, and low values representing clear ice). The blue and dark green thin curves show data series that have been mathematically resolution enhanced. All these data series exhibit annual variations and have been used for annual layer counting. Vertical grey lines mark the annual layers. The "open bar" at 1502.39 m marks a feature that could be a thin annual layer only partially resolved by the records. It is therefore regarded as "an uncertain annual layer".
Data like these form the basis for a recent effort to construct a new time scale for the Greenland ice cores, the so-called Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005, or short GICC05.
The final method of counting layers we will discuss is electrical conductivity:
After recovery, the freshly drilled ice core is brought into the logging and science trench. Here the top of the newest core piece is fitted to the bottom of the previous core piece. By checking that the two pieces fit precisely together, the possibility of loss of ice core can be ruled out. The length of the core is then measured. It is the sum of all these measured core lengths that gives the total length of the ice core. The core length is different from the measured drill cable length because the cable is stretched by the weight of cable and drill.
The plane surface of the main core, piece 5, is cleaned with a microtome knife and the electric conductivity of the ice is measured by moving two electrodes with an electrical potential difference of about 1000 V along the ice surface. The resulting current is a measure of the acidity of the ice. A significant feature of this co-called ECM record is that it contains large peaks caused by past volcanic eruptions. During the eruption large amounts of SO2 are released to the atmosphere, where it is eventually turned into sulphuric acid, which shows up in the ECM record. After the ECM-measurements, the main core is cut into segments of 55 cm (bags), packed in insulated boxes and sent to Copenhagen, where they are stored in big freezers at -25°C.
These different methods are all useable in the upper layers and they show the same layer counts, validating the high precision and accuracy of the layer counts by each system. This is a consilience of data within each core, but also in comparing one core to the others, and this allows all the Greenland Ice Cores to be combined into a single chronology - "the so-called Greenland Ice Core Chronology 2005, or short GICC05."
Remember: The challenge for old age deniers (especially young earth proponents) is to explain why the same basic results occur from different measurement systems if they are not measuring actual age?
In Message 4, Greenland Ice Cores, Part A: Countable Layers, we saw there was a floating chronology over 60,000 years long of visibly countable dust layers. In Message 6, Ice Cores, 14C and 10Be, we saw the tethered dust count layer chronology (GICC05) meant the earth is at least 60,217 years old (2017), and in Message 7, Other Layer Counting Methods, we saw there are multiple ways to determine and count the deeper layers in ice cores with high accuracy and precision, showing the earth must be even older: so what are the results?
While both the Camp Century and DYE-3 ice cores contained only a few hundred of meters of glacial ice, the glacial sections comprised about half of the more than 3 km long GRIP and GISP2 ice cores. Combining this much-improved resolution with large advances in ice core analysis techniques, the Central Greenland ice cores advanced the knowledge about glacial climate enormously. However, comparisons of the two ice cores made it clear that although both cores provide excellent records of past climatic conditions some 105,000 years back in time, the stratigraphies of the bottom ~300 m of both cores are disturbed. The ice has been flowing over the uneven bedrock topography in the area which has resulted in folding of the layers older than 105,000 years. This means that the ice deposited during the Eemian warm period some 115,000 - 130,000 years ago is disturbed.
The earth is at least 105,000 years old (2017) by this data, with evidence of an even older age in the jumbled ice at the bottom.
Electrical conductivity measurements (ECM) were conducted in the field during the NGRIP (Dahl-Jensen et al., 2002) and NEEM ice core campaigns. For both cores, the ECM set-up and procedure are similar to the one described in Hammer (1980): ...
Glacial ice from both the NEEM and NGRIP ice cores is currently being intensively investigated with the aim of developing a high-resolution tephrochronological framework, linking the cores together and providing a robust template for correlating the ice-core records with other sediment records containing tephras (Lowe et al., 2008; Blockley et al., 2012; Abbott and Davies, 2012). ...
The (NGRIP depth, NEEM depth) relation has a small kink at the 2087.698 m match point and clear kinks at the 2166.449 m and 2195.630 m match points. The first two kinks probably represent the boundaries between sections that have undergone different amounts of strain due to complex ice flow patterns that lead to overturned folds deeper in the ice (NEEM community members, 2013), but we believe that the ice stratigraphy is still undisturbed. Below the 2195.630 m match point, the match between the cores is less robust, and there is a significant risk that the ice below this depth is stratigraphically disturbed. However, we do not have enough data of significant resolution at this point to shed light on this issue, and we therefore transfer GICC05modelext to NEEM down to a depth of 2203.597 m (or 108.2 ka b2k) below which the ice core is known to be stratigraphically compromised, noting that the section below approx. 2150 m (93.6 ka b2k) is less certain and that the section below the 2195.630 m match point (107.0 ka b2k) must be consider tentative,
As described in Sect. 2.4 and Table 1, fifteen tephra horizons common to the NGRIP and NEEM cores have been located. All of these are fully consistent with the ECM-based synchronization.
The tephra particles are found in ice samples with a typical length of 1520 cm, but their precise locations have not been determined by higher-resolution sampling and the tephra layers are not visible. In contrast, the ECM record has a much finer depth resolution and precision. More than half of the tephra horizons sit on top of (or very close to) one or more ECM-based match points, in which case only the more precise ECM-based match points are used for the timescale transfer. ...
Just as multiple tree-ring chronologies showed remarkable consilience with 4 different chronologies agreeing on time versus 14C levels, here we have three ice cores that agree in their overlaps and in the placement of volcanic tephra signals. This consilience shows high accuracy and precision in the results.
The earth is at least 107,000 years old (2017) by this data.
The GICC05modelext ice core data extends a little further into the past:
File name "2010-11-19 GICC05modelext for NGRIP.xls" The concept of maximum counting error (MCE, right column) is introduced in Rasmussen et al. (see below). Below 60 ka, MCE is not given, as the GICC05modelext time scale does not have an intrinsic error estimate.
So the data actually goes to 122,280 years b2k (before 2000), or 122,297 years ago (2017), or back to 120,281 BCE. The years before 107,000 b2k are considered tentative, so this indicates an older earth than the 107,000 b2k age.
The earth is at least 107,000 years old (2017) by this data.
Back to 12,000 BP, this counting was validated by a very close agreement of three independent methods of counting the annual layers. From 12,000 BP back to 40,000 BP, the counting was validated by a very close agreement of two independent methods of counting the annual layers, and from 40,000 BP back to 110,000 BP by a close agreement of two independent methods. Also, despite the different methods used for dating GRIP and GISP2, there is excellent agreement between them (and with deep sea cores as well); so the cores corroborate each other.3
Mainstream creation science writers are in agreement that the Greenland ice sheet could not have been deposited before a global flood because the supposed climate of the pre-Flood world was too warm to allow the build-up of an ice sheet. They also believe that even if an ice sheet had built up, the water of a global flood would have caused the ice sheet to rise, break up, float away, and melt.4 So the annual layers in the GISP2 ice core reflect the years since the Flood according to creationist theory. This means that if the dating of the GISP2 ice core is valid and there was a global flood, it must have occurred at least 40,000 years ago and probably more than 110,000 years ago.
Ice Crystals Vary from Summer to Winter ...
Dust Concentrations Vary Seasonally ...
Electrical Conductivity Varies from Summer to Winter ...
The 18Oxygen/16Oxygen Ratio Varies from Summer to Winter ...
In addition to the agreement of the three main methods of dating, the years are correlated as far as possible with volcanic events which can be dated ...
Oards young-earth model is essentially just speculation. It does not have the extensive empirical foundation that underlies the dating of the GISP2 ice core. ...
The Lost Squadron Argument ... (*)
In conclusion we see that creation science has offered little more than speculation as evidence to disprove the validity of the dating of the GISP2 ice core. Opposing this speculation is solid empirical evidence that the layers of hoar frost, dust, and electrical conductivity are seasonal, not from storms, melting, different climate conditions or any other such supposition. Although one of the methods of counting annual layers may fail on rare occasions, the other methods fill in and sustain the accuracy of the counting; and the three methods regularly and repeatedly corroborate each other. In addition, the validity of the dating is established by the fact that there is a dovetailing of the dates of GISP2 with the dates of solar cycles,48 sea cores, tree rings, volcanic events, and more.49 The GISP2 ice core thus provides clear, scientific proof that there was no global flood any time in the last 40,000 to 110,000 years.
(*) (fails to address reality and different snow environments)
Seely systematically goes through the evidence, reviews the standard creationist arguments and eviscerates them ("little more than speculation") and concludes that the consilience of different methods reaching the same conclusion using objective empirical data demonstrate solid evidence that there was no flood in the last 110,000 years.
The earth is at least 107,000 years old (2000) by this data.
The minimum age for the earth is at least 107,000 years (b2k ≈ 2017 at this scale of time = <0.02% error), based on the accurate and precise ice core layer counts, or back to 104,984 BCE. This also means that there was no major catastrophic event that would have disturbed layer deposition during this time.
Compare this to YEC models (6,000 years for those using Archbishop Usher's assumption filled calculations of a starting date of 4004 BCE), as this chronology extends to 104,984 BCE ... with no flood damage, and creationist arguments are "little more than speculation" and fail to explain the consilience between data sets arriving at the same results.
These are the countable layers in the ice cores, from several different locations on the Greenland ice cap, that corelate, corroberate and calibrate each other in a remarkable consilience of results, and the data now extends much further into the past. This date is combined into the GICC05modelext ice core chronology, the extension to the GICC05 ice core chronology that we saw in Message 4, Greenland Ice Cores, Part A: Countable Layers.
Remember: The challenge for old age deniers (especially young earth proponents) is to explain why the same basic results occur from different measurement systems if they are not measuring actual age?
Rasmussen, S. O., Abbott, P. M., Blunier, T., Bourne, A. J., Brook, E., Buchardt, S. L., Buizert, C. Chappellaz, J., Clausen, H. B., Cook, E., Dahl-Jensen, D., Davies, S. M., Guillevic, M., Kipfstuhl, S., Laepple, T., Seierstad, I.K., Severinghaus, J. P., Steffensen, J. P., Stowasser, C., Svensson, A., Vallelonga, P., Vinther, B.M., Wilhelms, F., and Winstrup, M., "A first chronology for the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core," http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/...ogyNorth.pdf;sequence=1