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Creation's Tiny Mystery
Appendix: Radiohalos in a Radiochronological and Cosmological Perspective

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Halos in Coalified Wood: a Flood-Related Phenonena

A worldwide Flood, which is postulated to have occurred about 1650 years after creation, is the third singularity in the creation model proposed herein. I have advanced the hypothesis that the underdeveloped U halos in both the Colorado Plateau and Chattanooga Shale coalified wood specimens exhibit very high U/Pb ratios because the uranium infiltration of the wood occurred only when those geological deposits were being emplaced at the time of the Flood several thousand years ago, instead of the 60 to 400 millions of years ago accepted by uniformitarian geology. I suggest at least part of the U-series disequilibria (19) found in the Colorado Plateau U deposits is because some U-daughter radionuclide separation occurred at the time of the Flood, and there has been insufficient time since then to reestablish equilibrium conditions.

The high U/Pb ratios and secondary 210Po halos in the coalified wood samples from the Eocene epoch and the Triassic and Jurassic periods suggest to me that the wood in all these formations was in the same gel-like condition when infiltrated by the U-bearing solutions. To me these data represent evidence for a concurrent, single-stage invasion of U into all the different geological formations represented by the coalified wood samples. This is precisely what would be expected on the basis of a Flood-related phenomena.

The dual Po halos also fit well into the Flood scenario, i.e. the presence of a spherical and elliptical Po halo around the same radiocenter suggests a tectonic event occurred within 50 years after the initial infiltration of uranium into the wood samples. A readjustment of the earth's crust after such a massive event is not unexpected. Another implication of the existence of 210Po halos in these specimens is that the transformation of the wood to a semi-coal-like condition must have occurred within a period of about one year. This evidence for a rapid coalification process is in contrast to the generally accepted view that coalification is a long-term geological process.

Three Types of Polonium Halos in Minerals

Now there are two other Po isotopes (214Po and 218Po) in the U decay chain besides 210Po, but no halos representative of these other Po isotopes have been found in coalified wood. This is not surprising, because the half-lives of the other Po isotopes are rather short, i.e., t½ = 3 m for 218Po and t½ = 164 μs for 214Po as are the half-lives of the beta precursors of 214Po, i.e. t½ = 26.4 m for 214Pb and t½ = 19.8 m for 214Bi (the precursor of 218Po is the inert gas 222Rn). What is surprising is that all the three types of Po halos occur in certain minerals which typically contain orders of magnitude less uranium than the U-rich coalified wood. Further, the minerals such as biotite and fluorite must have diffusion rates considerably lower than those expected for a U-solution-infiltrated specimens of gel-like wood. Figure 7 shows the idealized structure of the different Po halos in comparison with the U halo.

Photographic evidence relating to the existence of different types of Po halos in minerals is shown in Fig. 1. Figure 1(n) shows three 210Po halos of [p. 277] light, medium, and very dark coloration. The slightly higher radii for the darker halos is attributable to the higher dose. Figure 1(o) shows three different 210Po halos in fluorite. Figure 1(p) shows a 214Po halo in biotite, and Fig. 1(q) shows two 218Po halos in biotite. Comparison of these halos with the idealized ring structure in Fig. 7 shows that Po halos in minerals can be clearly identified by ring structure studies alone. The data in Table 1 shows there is an excellent agreement between the experimentally produced He ion produced coloration bands and the Po halo ring radii.

An important observation from Fig. 7 is that in the idealized 238U and 218Po patterns, it is evident that the 222Rn ring should be missing from the 218Po halo and present in the 238U halo. Figures 8 and 9 show the presence of the 222Rn ring in the U halo in contrast to its absence in the 218Po halo. This is unequivocal evidence that the 218Po halo initiated with 218Po rather than with any earlier alpha emitter in the U decay chain. Figures 10 and 11 show 214Po halos and 218Po halos in different types of biotite.

Henderson's (18) original idea that Po halos in minerals may have originated from a secondary source of radioactivity encounters formidable obstacles when closely examined. In most cases the minerals contain only ppm abundances of uranium, which means only a negligible supply of Po daughter atoms is available for capture at any given time. To form a halo these daughter atoms must migrate or diffuse so they can be captured at a collecting site, a problem which is compounded by the low diffusion rates in minerals (11,20,21). Despite these objections, in 1979 several investigators suggested their results (22) might provide support for secondary Po halo formation in minerals after all. They were apparently unaware that three years earlier I had reported the experimental observation of secondary 210Po halos in coalified wood (17). In that report I discussed how even under the most favorable conditions (i.e., an abundant supply of U-daughters in a highly mobile environment) for the formation of secondary Po halos, only the longer half-life 210Po halos actually formed, the reason being that the shorter half-life Po isotopes generally decayed away before they could be captured at the tiny Pb-Se sites. If these other two Po halo types didn't form under the best conditions in the gel-like wood, how could it be expected they would form naturally in the granites where diffusion rates are vastly lower and the supply of Po atoms is negligible?

The identity of U, Th and Po halos in minerals has been confirmed by analyzing the various types of halo radiocenters using scanning electron microscope x-ray fluorescence (SEMXRF) and ion microprobe mass spectrometric (IMMA) techniques (2,3). Studies of various Po halo radiocenters in biotite and fluorite have generally shown little or no U in conjunction with anomalously high 206Pb/207Pb and/or Pb/U ratios which would be expected from the decay of Po without the U precursor which normally occurs in U radiohalo centers (2,3). These results were obtained clearly in the analysis (3) of the most unusual array of Po halos which I ever found. That array, shown in Figure 12, has the appearance of a pair of spectacles, hence the designation 'Spectacle Halo.' The Spectacle Halo appearance compounds the problem of explaining its existence on the basis of known physical laws. In conclusion, in spite of attempts to define them out of existence (23), there is demonstrable evidence that Po halos do exist as separate entities (1-3).

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