The Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Creationism (2023)

ously throughout the Solar System, because of the evidence for similar large amounts of nuclear decay having occurred on other planets, the Moon, and in meteorites (Humphreys 2014). Early in the project, noting that “thermonuclear fusion is like α–decay in reverse,” I suggested that nuclear fusion may have been accelerated in the Sun and stars during the flood year. In turn, that would mean that “after the Flood cosmic ray bombardment of the earth may have been more intense than today, generating 14C in the earth’s atmosphere faster than now” (Humphreys 2000, p. 374). Fig. 1 shows a typical potential “well” for α–particles in a heavy nucleus. It is a plot of an alpha particle’s potential energy versus radius out from the center of the nucleus (Humphreys 2000, p. 358). The slope of the well inside the peak potential gives the inward force on the particle, mainly due to the strong nuclear force. The slope of the well outside the peak gives the outward force on the particle, mainly due to the electric field. The highest energy α–particles in the nucleus bounce off the inner walls of the well back and forth repeatedly along the horizontal dashed line. Occasionally one of them will quantum-mechanically tunnel through the coulomb barrier at the edge and escape from the nucleus. Then the nucleus has decayed by emitting an alpha particle. The rate at which tunneling happens is very sensitive to the height and width of the barrier, in particular to the size of the yellow area shown in the figure. It seems likely that God accelerated α–decay by weakening the nuclear force. Such a change would only affect the tiny regions in and around the nuclei of atoms; it would let processes outside the nuclei proceed unchanged. The weakening would increase the radius of the well, decrease its depth, and decrease the slope of the inside of the well. The yellow area of the barrier would decrease. Fig. 2 shows the simplified case of a square well, with no rounding at the peak potential. For that case, the probability for the transmission of a particle is exp(-γ), where Evans (1955) gives γ as: (1) Here Z and z are the atomic numbers of the nucleus and particle, respectively, B and T are the barrier height and particle kinetic energy, (1) respectively, v is the relative velocity of the particle and nucleus, and c is the speed of light. In terms of the masses of the particle and nucleus, m1 and m2, the relative velocity v is: Chaffin (2005, pp. 529-533, Fig. 3) found that for alpha decay, eq. (1) should be modified by a factor which can change greatly for small changes in the nuclear radius. It has to do with an abrupt change in the resonant nodes of the quantum-mechanical wave function for an alpha particle in the nucleus. But for fusion, with particles going into nuclei from outside them, there should be no such resonance. So, during the year of the Flood, fusion processes would not have been accelerated nearly as much as alpha decay. Here is an estimate of the relative rates: For fusion processes in the Sun’s core, the nuclei and the impinging particles are lighter than in alpha decay, being mostly nuclei of hydrogen, deuterium, tritium, helium 3, and helium 4. Barrier penetration goes from outside the nucleus to inside it. The energies of the penetrating particles are less, several keV instead of several MeV as for the case of alpha decay. Taking deuteron-deuteron fusion as an example, Z = z = 1 and m1 = m2 = mass of deuteron. In the solar core the temperature is about 15.5 million Kelvin (Allen 1981), giving us a mean kinetic energy of about 2.0 keV, amidst a Maxwellian distribution of lower and higher energies. Fig. 3 shows how the resulting probability of fusion for a single collision depends on the nuclear radius R. It suggests that fusion rates increased by a factor between 1 and 2, whereas alpha decay rates appear to have been roughly a half-billion times greater than normal (Vardiman et al. 2005). The next section and following ones will constrain how much fusion took place during the flood year, and they will show the main consequences of the increase. CONVECTION IN THE SUN Fig. 4 shows a cross-section of the Sun today. The convection zone is Figure 2. Simplified square potential well for deuteron-deuteron fusion. Figure 1. Potential well for alpha decay from a heavy nucleus. (2) HUMPHREYS Cause of large post-Flood jump in 14C 2023 ICC 281