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It is clear that the sedimentary rock was deposited and folded before the dyke was squeezed into place.
By looking at other outcrops in the area, our geologist is able to draw a geological map which records how the rocks are related to each other in the field.
The field relationships are generally broad, and a wide range of ‘dates’ can be interpreted as the time when the lava solidified.
What would our geologist have thought if the date from the lab had been greater than 200 million years, say 350.5 ± 4.3 million years?
Would he have concluded that the fossil date for the sediments was wrong? Would he have thought that the radiometric dating method was flawed? Instead of questioning the method, he would say that the radiometric date was not recording the time that the rock solidified.
He may suggest that the rock contained crystals (called xenocrysts) that formed long before the rock solidified and that these crystals gave an older date.
For example, a geologist may examine a cutting where the rocks appear as shown in Figure 1.
Someone may ask, ‘Why do geologists still use radiometric dating?It relates only to the accuracy of the measuring equipment in the laboratory.Even different samples of rock collected from the same outcrop would give a larger scatter of results. He would again say that the calculated age did not represent the time when the rock solidified.In the same way, by identifying fossils, he may have related Sedimentary Rocks B with some other rocks.Creationists would generally agree with the above methods and use them in their geological work.
No matter what the radiometric date turned out to be, our geologist would always be able to ‘interpret’ it.