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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2007
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Claim CD013.1:

The conventional K-Ar dating method was applied to the 1986 dacite flow from the new lava dome at Mount St. Helens, Washington. The whole-rock age was 0.35 +/- 0.05 million years (Mya). Ages for component minerals varied from 0.34 +/- 0.06 Mya to 2.8 +/- 0.6 Mya. These ages show that the K-Ar method is invalid.


Austin, Steven A., 1996. Excess argon within mineral concentrates from the New Dacite Lava Dome at Mount St. Helens volcano. Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 10(3): 335-343.


  1. Austin sent his samples to a laboratory that clearly states that their equipment cannot accurately measure samples less than two million years old. All of the measured ages but one fall well under the stated limit of accuracy, so the method applied to them is obviously inapplicable. Since Austin misused the measurement technique, he should expect inaccurate results, but the fault is his, not the technique's. Experimental error is a possible explanation for the older date.

  2. Austin's samples were not homogeneous, as he himself admitted. Any xenocrysts in the samples would make the samples appear older (because the xenocrysts themselves would be old). A K-Ar analysis of impure fractions of the sample, as Austin's were, is meaningless.


Henke, Kevin R. n.d. Young-earth creationist 'dating' of a Mt. St. Helens dacite: The failure of Austin and Swenson to recognize obviously ancient minerals.
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