Not Enough Dust on the Earth or Moon Prove the Earth is Young

The argument is that a single measurement of the rate of meteoritic dust influx to the Earth gave a value in the millions of tons per year. While this is negligible compared to the processes of erosion on the Earth (about a shoe box-full of dust per acre per year), there are no such processes on the moon. The moon must receive a similar amount of dust (perhaps 25% as much per unit surface area due to its lesser gravity), and there should be a very large dust layer (about a hundred feet thick) if the moon is several billion years old.

Henry Morris says, regarding the dust influx rate:

"The best measurements have been made by Hans Pettersson, who obtained the figure of 14 million tons per year."1

Pettersson stood on a mountain top and collected dust with a device intended for measuring smog levels. He published calculations that measured the amount of nickel collected, assuming that nickel was only present in meteoritic dust, and assuming that some percentage of meteoritic dust was nickel, to get his final figures (the first assumption was wrong and caused his published figures to be a vast overestimate). Pettersson’s calculation resulted in the a figure of about 15 million tons per year. He believed that estimate to be an over-estimate, and indicated in the paper that 5 million tons per year was a much more likely figure.

Since Pettersson’s publication, much more accurate measurements have become available, from satellite penetration data (no possibility of earthly contamination). These more accurate measurements give the value of about 23,000 tons per year.2 These measurements also agree with levels of meteoritic dust levels trapped in sediments on Earth (an independent cross-check.).3 For the moon the annual accumulation of dust would be 11 thousand tons. This quantity would produce 1.2 inches of dust for a moon 4.5 billion years old. When other factors, such as decomposition from ultraviolet radiation, other sources of erosion, and impact of larger interplanetary objects, are considered 2.5 inches of dust would be produced on the moon in 4.25 billion years, which is very close to the age determined by other methods.

In addition there is a young earth creationist technical paper by Snelling and Rush on this topic that admits that the depth of dust on the moon is concordant with the mainstream age and history of the solar system and concludes:

"It thus appears that the amount of meteoritic dust and meteorite debris in the lunar regolith and surface dust layer, even taking into account the postulated early intense bombardment, does not contradict the evolutionists’ multi-billion year time scale (while not proving it). Unfortunately, attempted counter-responses by creationists have so far failed because of spurious arguments or faulty calculations. Thus, until new evidence is forthcoming, creationists should not continue to use the dust on the moon as evidence against an old age for the moon and the solar system."4

Even though young-earth creationists themselves have refuted this argument, the "moon dust" argument continues to be propagated in their "popular" literature and the Internet.

Errors: faulty assumptions, faulty data, avoidance of data that refutes the position

A Matter of Days by Hugh RossA Matter of Days by Hugh Ross

Dr. Ross looks the creation date controversy from a biblical, historical, and scientific perspective. Most of the book deals with what the Bible has to say about the days of creation. Ross concludes that biblical models of creation should be tested through the whole of scripture and the revelations of nature.

A New Look at an Old EarthA New Look at an Old Earth by Don Stoner

Don Stoner looks at the age of the earth from a scientific and biblical perspective. He presents much more evidence that is not presented in Creation and Time.

The older version of A New Look at an Old Earth is available online

References Top of page

  1. Morris, Henry, 1974. Scientific Creationism, California, Creation-Life Publishers. 217 pp. 152, ISBN 0-89051-001-6
  2. Hayward, Alan. 1985. Creation and Evolution, Triangle SPCK, Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone Road, London NW14DU
  3. Dalrymple, G. Brent. 1984. "How Old is the Earth? A Reply to 'Scientific Creationism'" Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Volume 1, Part 3, edited by Frank Awbrey and William Thwaites, April 30, 1984, p.108-111
    Strahler, Arthur N., 1987. Science and Earth History: The Creation/ Evolution Controversy, New York, Prometheus. 552 pp. ISBN 0-87975-414-1
  4. Snelling, Andrew A., and David E. Rush, 1993. "Moon Dust and the Age of the Solar System" in Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal Volume 7, No. 1, pp. 2-42.


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