Fossil dating lab
C) analyses to two reputable laboratories—Geochron Laboratories in Cambridge, Boston (USA), and the Antares Mass Spectrometry laboratory at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Lucas Heights near Sydney (Australia).Neither laboratory was told exactly where the samples came from to ensure that there would be no resultant bias.In stark contrast to the ‘age’ of the wood are the potassium-argon (K-AR) ‘ages’ of the basalt (see Table 2).8 It is readily apparent that there are significant variations in the results, as evident in the calculated ‘ages’ of the outcrop 2 sample provided by each laboratory.The problem of obtaining consistently ‘acceptable’ K-AR ‘ages’ is also highlighted by the observation that both outcrop and both drill core samples probably represent the same basalt flow in each respective location (hence the calculated average ‘ages’ in the last column of Table 2)10 The staff of both laboratories (again Ph. scientists) defended their analytical results,8 While the quality and accuracy of the analytical work undertaken by all the laboratories involved is unquestionably respected, all the calculated ‘ages’ are mere interpretations based on unproven assumptions about constancy of radioactive decay rates, and on the geochemical behaviour of these elements (and their isotopes) in the unobservable past.The radiocarbon (C) results are listed in Table 1.8 It is immediately evident that there was detectable radiocarbon in all wood samples, so that the laboratories’ staff had neither hesitation nor difficulties in calculating C ‘ages’.When subsequently questioned regarding the limits of the analytical method for the radiocarbon and any possibility of contamination, staff at both laboratories (Ph. scientists) were readily insistent that the results, with one exception,9 were within the detection limits and therefore provided quotable finite ‘ages’!From 1945 onward, he and his colleague, John Robinson, used controlled explosions to extract more fossils.
The site has a very high concentration of fossils – the highest in the Cradle of Humankind – which, as a whole, has produced more fossils of early hominids than any other site on Earth.After digging through the thin surface sands and clays, followed by basalt, 21 metres (almost 69 feet) down they found pieces of wood entombed in the bottom basalt flow.1 Below the basalt were layers of claystone, siltstone, and sandstone with interbedded coal seams.2 The wood was in three states—ash, charred, and intact.1 Those on-site at the time speculated that there had been two distinct trees, partly standing, still organic in nature, and thus not petrified.The imprint of a leaf was also discovered within the basalt, which was also regarded as remarkable, remembering that the enclosing rock was once molten lava erupted at 1000–1200°C (about 1800–2200°F).8 Furthermore, they pointed to the almost identical δC results (last column in Table 1), consistent with the carbon being organic carbon from wood, and indicating no possibility of contamination.So the results in Table 1 are staunchly defended by the laboratories as valid, indicating an ‘age’ of perhaps 44,000–45,500 years for the wood encased in the basalt retrieved from the drill core.