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Thread: Does AMBER decay in oxygen?

  1. #1 Does AMBER decay in oxygen? 
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    Hi ya'll, neat website here!



    Sorry to bother you all with what is probably a basic chemistry question, but was having trouble finding info on this with google.
    I recently heard that we shouldn't have ambers with ancient 100 million year old fossils because the amber slowly reacts with oxygen in the ground and atmosphere. The claim is that ancient ambers should have long eroded away.

    Is this correct or just nonsense?


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  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Sounds like nonsense to me... As a guess I'm betting it's a young earth creationist lie...


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  4. #3  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    "Compared to other organic matter, amber has the advantage that it remains chemically and isotopically almost unchanged over long periods of geological time". (From here).
    Tests of reaction to oxygen detailed here.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SciFox View Post
    Hi ya'll, neat website here!



    Sorry to bother you all with what is probably a basic chemistry question, but was having trouble finding info on this with google.
    I recently heard that we shouldn't have ambers with ancient 100 million year old fossils because the amber slowly reacts with oxygen in the ground and atmosphere. The claim is that ancient ambers should have long eroded away.

    Is this correct or just nonsense?
    Out of curiosity where did you hear that assertion?

    Amber is typically fully to almost fully polymerized with itself, with the more volatile components of the resin that makes it having degassed or escaped from it. Also, amber is only found in soils if its been eroded out of the original host rock or coal, both of which are oxygen poor to oxygen deprived environments conducent to fossilization.
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  6. #5  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Sounds like nonsense to me... As a guess I'm betting it's a young earth creationist lie...
    My thoughts exactly, and from the "y'all" greeting, this person is most likely from the US Bible Belt where this nonsense seems to be endemic.
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