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Liquid Stone

3 May 2012

Now, there is some interesting speculation here, at http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/dinosaurs-liquid-stone-and-radio… … a three pronged assault. EM Smith, as one might do, was watching the History Channel and somebody claimed dinosaur bones were radio-active. EM Smith explains why this is sometimes so – what the somebody didn't know was that dinosaur bones are actually rocks in the shape of a dinosaur bone. Water has leached away the calcium in the bones and replaced it with mineral silicates. We may note flint is a silicate and it too is formed by water that very often encloses fossils such as sponges – and flint formed during the dinosaur age. However, what is interesting is that if the bone happened to be located in a region of the world where Uranium or Thorium can be found in the local ground water or in rivers and streams the bone takes onboard the Uranium and Thorium, in solution = a radio-active rock. The rock was formed from a liquid solution – but subsequently solidified. This again is somewhat like the formation of flint, the silicate at first being a water solution and then becoming soft and pliable in order to surround the sponge or other fossil marine animal, and finally at some later stage solidifying. Flints were picked up in the Chilterns in the 18th and 19th century, as waste material from excavations for clay (brickmaking) and chalk (for lime) and despatched to London where they were used to make glass. EM Smith is then side tracked as he realises that stone can be made from liquids – and stone could sometimes have a liquid origin. He is more interested in the practical use of such a fact but what does it imply about geological layering of rock. For example, lots of sedimentary rock has a marine or wetlands origin (bogs and swamp), or an origin in watery silt (mud stones) which might require a thinking cap and a further post. Also, what does it imply for dating clocks based on radio-activity found in rocks? These nuclear dating methodologies are the foundation of geochronology – they are used to pin down geological layers. What exactly is being measured we might ask? Is it the actual date of the formation of the rock or the Uranium and Thorium and other elements that were in the water that made the rock? Or do the scientists take this into account? We may suspect they don't and if so there is a huge question mark surrounding nuclear dating clocks and geochronology in general. We may suspect the issue is fairly well known to geologists – but is ignored or it is hoped nobody can see. Chiefio did.

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