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Geologists assert that older dates are found deeper down in the geologic column, which they take as evidence that radiometric dating is giving true ages, since it is apparent that rocks that are deeper must be older.But even if it is true that older radiometric dates are found lower down in the geologic column, which is open to question, this can potentially be explained by processes occurring in magma chambers which cause the lava erupting earlier to appear older than the lava erupting later.The general idea is that many different minerals are formed, which differ from one another in composition, even though they come from the same magma.The mineral makeup of an igneous rock is ultimately determined by the chemical composition of the magma from which it crystallized.

A number of processes could cause the parent substance to be depleted at the top of the magma chamber, or the daughter product to be enriched, both of which would cause the lava erupting earlier to appear very old according to radiometric dating, and lava erupting later to appear younger.

Bowen also demonstrated that if a mineral remained in the melt after it had crystallized, it would react with the remaining melt and produce the next mineral in the sequence shown in Figure 3.6.

For this reason, this arrangement of minerals became known as Bowen's reaction series.

Lava (properly called magma before it erupts) fills large underground chambers called magma chambers.

Most people are not aware of the many processes that take place in lava before it erupts and as it solidifies, processes that can have a tremendous influence on daughter to parent ratios.