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Lava erupting earlier would come from the top of the magma chamber, and lava erupting later would come from lower down.

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.

As the crystallization process continues, the composition of the melt (liquid portion of a magma, excluding any solid material continually changes.

For example, at the stage when about 50 percent of the magma has solidified, the melt will be greatly depleted in iron, magnesium, and calcium, because these elements are found in the earliest formed minerals.

These long time periods are computed by measuring the ratio of daughter to parent substance in a rock and inferring an age based on this ratio.

This age is computed under the assumption that the parent substance (say, uranium) gradually decays to the daughter substance (say, lead), so the higher the ratio of lead to uranium, the older the rock must be.

Such processes can cause the daughter product to be enriched relative to the parent, which would make the rock look older, or cause the parent to be enriched relative to the daughter, which would make the rock look younger.

This calls the whole radiometric dating scheme into serious question.

Oftentimes the rate of cooling occurs rapidly enough to prohibit the complete transformation of calcium-rich feldspar into sodium-rich feldspar.

In these instances, the feldspar crystals will have calcium-rich interiors surrounded by zones that are progressively richer in sodium.

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.

But at the same time, it will be enriched in the elements contained in the later forming minerals, namely sodium and potassium.