Several years ago, my Dad sent me a package containing wood and round river rocks. There was no accompanying note. An odd gift, yet we knew there must be a story connected with it. After talking with Dad, he said he found the wood and river rock while working in Prudhoe Bay Alaska, but not above the ground...
For those geographically challenged, Prudhoe Bay Alaska is located in the northernmost part of the state along the coast. The ground is permafrost, which in this case is permanently frozen soil and rock. There are no trees, it is basically flat terrain with lots of oil deep below the surface.
At the time, Dad was constructing roads (also ice roads) in Prudhoe Bay. Naturally, they need gravel for the roads, and the region has more than its share. However, the gravel, just like the soil is permanently frozen.
The sun melts the first few inches of ground, but everything under those first few inches remains permanently frozen.
In order to break the gravel free, they use a bulldozer to scrape off each layer of gravel after it thaws, pass by pass, over and over again.
Once the sun defrosted layer of gravel is removed, the sun begins to melt the next 2-3 inch layer of gravel. The process continues over and over, and those small layers of gravel became a gravel pit that was 45 feet deep!
That is where Dad found the wood and river rock he sent us. 45 feet below the permanently frozen soil.
Dad told us, “the area was an ancient river bed” which explains why there was round rock in the first place. It also let him know, the area must have been very habitable at one point in time since trees were present, as they are not today.
I recall asking him,
What made you think I would be interested in the wood and river rock?
He said, “I just figured it would interest you”.
Ironically enough, I was working on a re-write of our Bible study, The World That Was which explains how the world was changed by God at some point in history.
In case you are curious, you can spot the wood Dad gave me in some of our videos that were shot in our studio. They are on the bookshelf behind me on the lower tier, (example: Why Did Jesus Speak In Parables?).
For years we wondered how old the wood was. It must be thousands of years old we thought.
In 2019, we decided to send off a sample of our wood to be carbon dated.
For those unfamiliar with the process, this procedure tests a sample of wood (in our case) using a machine called a radio spectrometer to analyze how many Carbon-14 (C-14) atoms are left in the wood sample.
Depending on the amount of Carbon-14 left in the wood, that information will tell us the age. Assuming there is any Carbon-14 left to begin with.
If the material is too old, the Carbon-14 atoms will no longer be present (or measurable) which means it is out of range for Carbon-14 dating.
The maximum age for Carbon-14 dating is 45,000 - 70,000 years depending on how the laboratory has been set up.
The Director of the company we used explained,
Very specialized handling in a laboratory that strives for exceptionally low background may be able to responsibly reach the 60-70K level, but such elimination of carbon from the laboratory environment is likely to be costly and not reasonable for most consumers/applications.
Meaning, in order to reach the 70,000-year date level, extreme precautions must be taken which makes the process cost-prohibitive for most labs and clients.
For the record, the oldest date range for the labs I contacted was up to 48,000 years.
I know some people are skeptical about the various dating methods in existence. I have to admit, I had a certain level of skepticism myself going into this.
In order to remove those doubts, I would like the skeptic to understand I did not have to divulge where the sample came from, how old I thought it was, nor did I correspond using any information related to our website, World Events and the Bible. I just threw the wood in a box and sent it off for testing.
As funny as that may sound, I wanted to ensure I had no doubt about the outcome of the test.
So off the sample went for testing...
Weeks later we received our results by email, and later a paper copy. As I gathered the family to share the results, we were amazed to discover our sample was over 45,000 years old! In fact, the upper limit for this lab was 45,000 years. So our wood sample was off the chart.
The Director of the Lab added,
We can comfortably say that your sample is extremely old.
I can still remember my excitement while reading the results to my family around a campfire. Not only did the results more than confirm my own thoughts on the date of the sample, but it removed my skepticism. It also provided further evidence to the Biblical fact, the earth is extremely old, and has gone through many massive changes.
Naturally, the next thought entered my mind. Since there is no Carbon-14 left in the wood, at least measurable. That means this wood has been frozen for at least 45,000 years.
Think about that.
It is commonly believed the last ice age ended 11,700 years ago and started around 2.6 million years ago. Since Dad found our wood 45 feet below the permanently frozen soil in Prudhoe Bay Alaska, our wood has been frozen for millions of years. That makes it a really special find.
After reaching back out to the Director of the Lab and other Professionals in the industry, I have been told there is no other method in existence to find the date of a real piece of wood.
Since our wood has been trapped 45 feet below the permafrost, it is not fossilized. So we are unable to date it further.
During our travels, it has become very apparent how much our world has changed over a long duration of time. These changes can be seen all over our nation (and world), even in the layers made visible along highways.
The most striking changes I have seen were in Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains, Montana's Glacier National Park, and Arizona's Grand Canyon.
Today, my mind still curiously wonders about our wood and what Prudhoe Bay must have looked like at one time.
Think about it, at some point a tree died. Then it broke down over some period of time to become sticks. Then the earth changed, and the polar caps either came into existence or expanded to permanently freeze the land so our wood never rotted or fossilized and could be dug up by Dad.
When Dad and I talked about this he explained, several times he has dug up green plant matter deep below the permafrost surface. That means, dirt covered the plants and the land froze in order to preserve them. That must have been before the last ice age over 2 million years ago, just like our wood.
I found all this very intriguing, obviously massive changes have taken place on earth. Then I thought.
- Could our wood be tied to the destruction of The World That Was?
- Could it be tied to the gap in time explained in Genesis 1:1-2?
- Or do they just document some of earth’s many changes?
I do not have those answers.
Yet, Ecclesiastes 3:11 has helped me understand, we cannot figure out all of earth's mysteries, beginning to end.
This will be one of the many questions I have for our Heavenly Father, until then, I will continue to be intrigued by this amazing find.