"Where's the proof? There is no proof!" (Gentry 1986, p. 301)
- The samples of biotite that contain Gentrys Po halos came from pegmatite dikes and calcite vein-dikes that cross-cut metamorphosed volcanic, sedimentary and igneous rock units - the dikes are clearly the last to form, not the first;
- The dikes are not the vast extensive granite gneisses Gentry claims are the backbone of the mountains and continents -- they are relatively small features;
- The rocks at two of the sites are not even granites but calcite vein-dikes, most likely of hydrothermal origin. The biotite was formed in the solid matrix by metamorphism and
- Crystal size in igneous, vein and metamorphic rocks ranges from microscopic to very large, is primarily due to cooling rates and crystal growth, and cannot be used to identify "created" rocks.
In 1939 Henderson wrote a small paragraph about how these radioactive inclusions might have gotten into the biotite. Reiterating a well-known fact of crystal formation he said:
"To provide such a mechanism there seem to be two possible alternative hypotheses, which may be termed magmatic and hydrothermal. On the magmatic hypothesis it is supposed that the constituents of the halo nucleus, including the radioactive parent, crystallized out first from the magma to form the nucleus, and that the biotite later crystallized around it, following the normal order of crystallization from a magma." (1939, p.252)
Even without conduits it is possible for fluids and elements to migrate across a concentration gradient in a solid mineral, especially at elevated temperatures since the rate of diffusion is exponential with temperature. However, regardless of whether the uranium or its daughter products was emplaced via conduits or diffusion, there must still be some reason why it would be selectively deposited at a specific tiny locality within the mica. For that to occur, engulfment of some other granule, where the mineralization would start, is required.
Although the geology of the three sites discussed above conclusively disproves Gentrys claims of instant creation of the 'primordial basement rocks,' it does not explain the apparent occurrence of the Po halos as described by Gentry. But this does not mean that there are no explanations. Clearly there will be a more logical and scientific explanation, perhaps including misidentification of the halos themselves due to sectioning other than through the centre of the sphere. (Hastings, 1987b)
There are several lines of evidence supporting the idea that a uranium-rich fluid precipitated the Polonium:
- The very fact that Gentrys halos occur in areas of unusually high uranium mineraliration and metamorphism (including his fluorite samples shown in his book, which came from the Wolsendorf fluorite deposit) in Germany (B. Dressier, personal communication, 1988));
- There are no halos for the thorium decay chain, even though, because of the insolubility of thorium compounds (Brown, 1987), the thorium to uranium ratio is over 5:1 in the Faraday pegmatite:
- No halos have been found in lunar rocks:
- The dikes of the sites listed above have different origins (magmatic -- Faraday, pegmatites and hydrothermal -- Silver Crater/Fission) which suggest that the halos may be connected with a post magmatic or later common origin;
- The uranium mineralization is primarily a precipitation event (mainly in mafic minerals like biotite) in a reducing environment near the contact of the wall-rock and in fractures and cleavages in the case of the Faraday pegmatite (Masson and Gordon, 1981);
- Oxygenated fluids rich in fluorine, phosphorus, and carbon dioxide readily dissolve uranium and increase the fluids mobility (Masson and Gordon, 1981).
There is a major misconception, and not just by Gentry, about the distinction between the formation of the host mineral and the formation of the Po halos. The formation of the minerals, like biotite, is irrelevant to Po halo formation since the Po was emplaced after the formation of the mineral was complete, maybe by millions of years. So it does not matter whether the biotite formed from the normal sequence of mineral formation from a magma (Faraday), or was deposited by hydrothermal processes, or grew in the solid matrrix of the host rock due to metamorphism (Silver Crater, Fission). The Po could have been deposited a some later time when the uranium-rich fluid started to flow.
The Faraday Mine pegmatites are considered a complex unzoned type (Masson and Gordon, 1981), where the pegmatite has undergone post-magmatic alteration involving deformation, hydrothermal activity and metasomatic reactions with the wallrock. The uranium enrichment in the pegmatites is a two-stage process of a primary magmatic concentration and a secondary, later, concentration due to fluids picking up uranium and thorium from both the pegmatites and the wall-rocks (mostly the syenites) and later precipitating them.
Masson and Gordon (1981) note that there are five principle controls for uranium deposits in the Bancroft area:
- Premetamorphic concentration of uranium in the sedimentary deposits of the Supergroup,
- Occurrence of high-rank regional metamorphism during the Grenville Orogeny;
- Regional deformation of the country rocks causing fractures and openings for the emplacement of the pegmatites;
- Occurrence of country rock (such as syenite and marble) with the necessary geochemistry for mobilization of uranium; and
- Occurrence of large granitic bodies nearby for the remelting and production of the magma for the pegmatites during the latter stages of regional metamorphism.
The geology of the sites at which Po halos are found clearly shows that Gentrys proof of instantaneous creation and a young Earth is nothing of the sort. Gentry's Po halos simply do not occur in primordial granites, but instead were formed in relatively young dikes that demonstrably crosscut older sedimentary and igneous rocks. Gentry claims to be an objective scientist but he has, in fact, ignored the very extensive published evidence that disproves his hypothesis. In addition, when confronted with this evidence he simply denies its existence. Such behavior is not characteristic of scientists, but of pseudoscientists.
"... Creations Tiny Mystery will stand as the Rock of Gibraltar against the tide of evolution." (Gentry, 1986, p. 202)
Help on this paper came from many sources, and without their interest this paper would never have been written. For the conversations, letters, phone replies, and visits for clarification of the geology of Ontario I gratefully thank the following:
Special thanks for their time for our discussions goes to
I am also grateful for the input by correspondents John Eichelberger, Steve Dutch, Gregg Wilkerson, Ronnie Hastings, Bob Schadewald, Phil Osmon, and Frank Awbrey.
Gratitude is expressed to my editor, Brent Dalrymple, for the time spent on revisions of the manuscript, for his letters and for his helpful suggestions. I also thank my family for their patience. The opinions and interpretations presented in this paper are entirely mine.
Editors note [JGE Magazine]
Shortly before this issue of JGE went to press. R.V. Gently called and requested that the following message be published along with Wakefleld's article.
"Gentry's response to Wakefield's material is given in the second edition (1988) of his book, Creation's Tiny Mystery available for $13.95 from Earth Science Associates. Box 12067, Knoxville, TN 37912."