dating living trees

Nina Shelton, 33 years old

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Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 21 3: For many types dating living trees forest studies, it is essential to identify the exact years of formation of annual rings in increment cores taken from living trees. To accomplish this, dendrochronologists employ cross dating, which involves both ring counting and ring-width pattern matching, to ensure against counting error, or errors, caused by missing or false rings. To date, published accounts of the cross-dating process generally describe a graphical method for achieving cross dating, known as skeleton plotting. However, when working with cores from living trees, skeleton plotting is seldom necessary. Such cores can commonly be cross-dated more quickly and easily by listing the narrow rings that are present in each core in a laboratory notebook and then comparing core notes for shared narrow rings.

The planet's trees have seen plenty of history pass by their trunks. In fact, they began dating living trees populate Earth million years ago, toward the end of the Devonian period. Considered living historical records, the organisms can withstand generations of development and change. Untilthe oldest individual tree in the world was Methuselah, a 4,year-old Great Basin bristlecone pine Pinus longaeva in the White Mountains of California.

Carbon dating is a variety of radioactive dating which is applicable only to matter which was once living and presumed to be in dating living trees with the atmosphere, taking in carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis. Cosmic ray protons blast nuclei in the upper atmosphere, producing neutrons which in turn bombard nitrogen, the major constituent of the atmosphere. This neutron bombardment produces the radioactive isotope carbon
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Tree ring dating dendrochronology has been used in an attempt to extend the calibration of carbon dating earlier than historical records allow. The oldest living trees, such as the Bristlecone Pines Pinus longaeva of the White Mountains of Eastern California, were dated in by counting tree rings at 4, years old. This would mean they pre-dated the Flood which occurred around 4, years ago, taking a straightforward approach to Biblical chronology. Recent research on seasonal effects on tree rings in other dating living trees in the same genus, the plantation pine Pinus radiatahas revealed that up to five rings per year can be produced and extra rings are often indistinguishable, even under the microscope, from annual rings. As a tree physiologist I would say that evidence of false rings in any woody tree species would cast doubt on claims that any particular species has never in the past produced false rings.

But the reason we respond to this article is because most readers of the media article trumpeting the claim 1 are likely to automatically assume that the age has been determined by counting the annual growth rings. This process seems a foolproof way to determine the age, one with far fewer assumptions and uncertainties than in radiometric dating. If the Bible were mistaken in its factual accounts of history, how could it be trusted on its claims concerning our eternal destiny cf. John 3: But in any case, when one closely examines the article, it seems that the age was not determined by tree-ring dating, but by carbon dating, with all of its well-known sources of error, not to mention assumptions. But this is curious, too. The whole methodology of radiocarbon C14 dating involves the notion that the organism has died, and is no longer exchanging carbon with its environment. So how can a live tree be shown to have died 8, years ago? This suggests that the dating was trying to establish when the first of the now-dead trees in that cluster, the progenitor dating living trees of the ones living now that are less than years old commenced the process.

Challenges to Biblical Credibility. Over the last few decades, archaeology has come into its own as a scientific endeavor. Gone are the romantic images of gentlemen in pith helmets carting dating living trees treasures to the museums and estates of Europe. Gone, too, is the idea that archaeologists are always on the side of the Bible believer. Modern interpretations frequently challenge biblical accounts.
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