Age of Earth

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. Earth Science Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for those interested in the geology, meteorology, oceanography, and environmental sciences. It only takes a minute to sign up. Earth Age around 4. Wouldn’t it be more accurate by doing it with its inner materials? Why do we use meteorites if they hit the Earth after its formation? We are able to determine the age of certain rocks and minerals using measurements of radioactive and radiogenic isotopes of certain elements. Simply put, the resulting date is the time that has passed from the crystallisation of that mineral. Obviously there are complexities, but there are not critical for this answer. Short answer : because the meteorites formed together with the Earth and the rest of the Solar System.

Radioactive Dating

Here I want to concentrate on another source of error, namely, processes that take place within magma chambers. To me it has been a real eye opener to see all the processes that are taking place and their potential influence on radiometric dating. Radiometric dating is largely done on rock that has formed from solidified lava. Lava properly called magma before it erupts fills large underground chambers called magma chambers.

Scientists have scoured the Earth searching for the oldest rocks to radiometrically date. In northwestern Canada, they discovered rocks about billion years.

David H. Bailey does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. In one respect, science and religion have been largely reconciled since the 19th century, when geologists such as Charles Lyell recognised the evidence for a very old Earth. Within a few decades, most mainstream religious denominations accepted this view as well. But, much to the consternation of scientists, young-Earth creationism , which holds Earth is only about 6, years old, continues to be promoted in some quarters, and remains very popular with the public, especially in the United States.

By contrast, and more representative of OECD countries, only about half as many Canadians espouse such beliefs. Such notions, of course, differ vastly to the findings of modern science, which pegs the age of the earth at 4. While there are numerous experimental methods used to determine geologic ages, the most frequently employed technique is radiometric dating , based on measurements of various radioactive isotopes in rocks.

The phenomenon of radioactivity is rooted in the fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulae, taught to all calculus students. Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinised over several decades, and the latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic rock samples.

Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data after certain preliminary calculations are made are fitted to a straight line called an isochron by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.

Creation 101: Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth

The age of Earth is estimated to be 4. Following the development of radiometric age-dating in the early 20th century, measurements of lead in uranium-rich minerals showed that some were in excess of a billion years old. It is hypothesised that the accretion of Earth began soon after the formation of the calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions and the meteorites. Because the time this accretion process took is not yet known, and predictions from different accretion models range from a few million up to about million years, the difference between the age of Earth and of the oldest rocks is difficult to determine.

It is also difficult to determine the exact age of the oldest rocks on Earth, exposed at the surface, as they are aggregates of minerals of possibly different ages.

Radioisotope dating has revealed that the age of the Earth is – billion years, and these results are widely accepted. However, as with all searches for.

In , shortly after the discovery of radioactivity , the American chemist Bertram Boltwood suggested that lead is one of the disintegration products of uranium, in which case the older a uranium-bearing mineral the greater should be its proportional part of lead. Analyzing specimens whose relative geologic ages were known, Boltwood found that the ratio of lead to uranium did indeed increase with age.

After estimating the rate of this radioactive change, he calculated that the absolute ages of his specimens ranged from million to 2. Though his figures were too high by about 20 percent, their order of magnitude was enough to dispose of the short scale of geologic time proposed by Lord Kelvin. Versions of the modern mass spectrometer were invented in the early s and s, and during World War II the device was improved substantially to help in the development of the atomic bomb.

Soon after the war, Harold C. Urey and G. Wasserburg applied the mass spectrometer to the study of geochronology. This device separates the different isotopes of the same element and can measure the variations in these isotopic abundances to within one part in 10, By determining the amount of the parent and daughter isotopes present in a sample and by knowing their rate of radioactive decay each radioisotope has its own decay constant , the isotopic age of the sample can be calculated.

For dating minerals and rocks, investigators commonly use the following couplets of parent and daughter isotopes: thorium—lead, uranium—lead, samarium—neodymium, rubidium—strontium, potassium—argon, and argon—argon The SHRIMP Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe enables the accurate determination of the uranium-lead age of the mineral zircon, and this has revolutionized the understanding of the isotopic age of formation of zircon-bearing igneous granitic rocks.

Another technological development is the ICP-MS Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer , which is able to provide the isotopic age of the minerals zircon, titanite, rutile, and monazite. These minerals are common to many igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Earth Science: Geologic Ages and Dating Techniques

Geologist Ralph Harvey and historian Mott Greene explain the principles of radiometric dating and its application in determining the age of Earth. As the uranium in rocks decays, it emits subatomic particles and turns into lead at a constant rate. Measuring the uranium-to-lead ratios in the oldest rocks on Earth gave scientists an estimated age of the planet of 4. Segment from A Science Odyssey: “Origins. View in: QuickTime RealPlayer.

Radiometric Dating: Geologists have calculated the age of Earth at 4.

The use of carbon, also known as radiocarbon, to date organic materials has been an important method in both archaeology and geology. The technique.

This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Despite seeming like a relatively stable place, the Earth’s surface has changed dramatically over the past 4. Mountains have been built and eroded, continents and oceans have moved great distances, and the Earth has fluctuated from being extremely cold and almost completely covered with ice to being very warm and ice-free.

These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth’s surface is moving and changing. As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils. A fossil can be studied to determine what kind of organism it represents, how the organism lived, and how it was preserved.

How Do Scientists Measure Earth Age?

How do scientists find the age of planets date samples or planetary time relative age and absolute age? If carbon is so short-lived in comparison to potassium or uranium, why is it that in terms of the media, we mostly about carbon and rarely the others? Are carbon isotopes used for age measurement of meteorite samples? We hear a lot of time estimates, X hundred millions, X million years, etc.

Critical to this resolution were improved methods of dating, which incorporated advances in mass spectrometry, sampling and laser heating. The.

When paleontologist Mary Schweitzer found soft tissue in a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil , her discovery raised an obvious question — how the tissue could have survived so long? The bone was 68 million years old, and conventional wisdom about fossilization is that all soft tissue, from blood to brains , decomposes. Only hard parts, like bones and teeth, can become fossils. But for some people, the discovery raised a different question.

How do scientists know the bones are really 68 million years old? Today’s knowledge of fossil ages comes primarily from radiometric dating , also known as radioactive dating. Radiometric dating relies on the properties of isotopes. These are chemical elements, like carbon or uranium, that are identical except for one key feature — the number of neutrons in their nucleus. Atoms may have an equal number of protons and neutrons.

If, however, there are too many or too few neutrons, the atom is unstable, and it sheds particles until its nucleus reaches a stable state. Think of the nucleus as a pyramid of building blocks. If you try to add extra blocks to the sides pyramid, they may stay put for a while, but they’ll eventually fall away. The same is true if you take a block away from one of the pyramid’s sides, making the rest unstable.

AGE OF THE EARTH

The same was long true of the cosmos. The ancient Greeks Eratosthenes and Aristarchus measured the size of the Earth and Moon, but could not begin to understand how old they were. With space telescopes, we can now even measure the distances to stars thousands of light-years away using parallax, the same geometric technique proposed by Aristarchus, but no new technology can overcome the fundamental mismatch between the human lifespan and the timescales of the Earth, stars, and universe itself.

He determined that Earth was created the night before October 23, BC. This would make the world about 5, years old in Ussher’s day and about 6,

Many independent measurements have established that the Earth and the universe are billions of years old. Geologists have found annual layers in ice that are easily counted to multiple tens of thousands of years, and when combined with radio isotope dating, we find hundreds of thousands of years of ice layers. Using the known rate of change in radio-active elements radiometric dating , some Earth rocks have been shown to be billions of years old, while the oldest solar system rocks are dated at 4.

Astronomers use the distance to galaxies and the speed of light to calculate that the light has been traveling for billions of years. The expansion of the universe gives an age for the universe as a whole: Astronomers and geologists have determined that the universe and Earth are billions of years old. This conclusion is not based on just one measurement or one calculation, but on many types of evidence. Here we will describe just two types of evidence for an old Earth and two types of evidence for an old universe; more types can be found under further reading.

These methods are largely independent of each other, based on separate observations and arguments, yet all point to a history much longer than 10, years. In years of drought, the tree grows less quickly so the ring is narrower; in good growing seasons the ring is thicker. By comparing the pattern of thick and thin rings to weather records, scientists can verify that the method is accurate.

Radiometric Dating: Doesn’t it Show that the Earth is 4.5 Billion Years Old?

We are a c 3 non-profit company tax-exempt status approved , so your contributions to our ministry are welcome! Equipping youth pastors, parents, and students with Biblical answers for evolutionary teaching in public schools. Secular scientists date the Earth to about 4. High school biology books openly acknowledge this necessary connection:.

Mesozoic bone consistently yields a falsely young radiocarbon “date” of a few Taking advantage of the popularity of dinosaurs, young-Earth.

The Earth is 4,54 billion years old. This age has been determined with the radioactive dating technique. The precise decay rate of radioactive elements is used as a clock: the number of daughter products in one rock indicates its age. The oldest meteorites ever dated in the Solar System are 4,56 billion years old, the oldest minerals on Earth are 4,4 billion years old, and the oldest rocks on Earth are 4 billion years old. These ages are very consistent because the meteorites had to form before the accretion of our planet, and the Earth had to cool down before the first minerals could crystallise.

The Solar System was formed around 4. Dating meteorites thus allows us to give a lower age to the Solar System 4,56 billion years old. Lead isotope isochron that Clair Patterson used to determine the age of the solar system and Earth Patterson, C. The animation shows progressive growth over million years Myr of the lead isotope ratios for two stony meteorites Nuevo Laredo and Forest City from initial lead isotope ratios matching those of the Canyon Diablo iron meteorite.

Dating the Earth, the Sun, and the Stars

Radioactive decay has become one of the most useful methods for determining the age of formation of rocks. However, in the very principal of radiometric dating there are several vital assumptions that have to be made in order for the age to be considered valid. These assumptions include: 1 the initial amount of the daughter isotope is known, 2 neither parent or daughter product has migrated into, or out of, the closed rock system, and 3 decay has occurred at a constant rate over time.

But what if one or some combination of these assumptions is incorrect? Then the computed age based on the accumulation of daughter products will be incorrect Stasson In order to use the valuable information provided by radiometric dating, a new method had to be created that would determine an accurate date and validate the assumptions of radiometric dating.

By dating the rocks in Earth’s ever-changing crust, as well as the rocks in Earth’s neighbors, such as the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists.

Scientists estimate that the Earth is about 4. To understand how this process works, you need to know a little bit about atoms and isotopes. Often, any one atom has several different forms, called isotopes. Atoms are made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons, and the number of electrons and protons determines the type of atom. Hydrogen, for example, has one electron and one proton. Sometimes, it also has a neutron, in which case it is called deuterium. Heavy water refers to water in which each hydrogen atom has a neutron.

Other isotopes are unstable because the different number of neutrons interacts with the other atomic components in such a way that, over a period of time, the isotope changes into some other atom. When these unstable isotopes change to a different atom, they emit radioactivity. An important property of radioactive isotopes is the half-life — the time it takes for half of the atoms to undergo the transition from one atom to the other. In the first half-life, half the atoms make the transition.

In the second half-life, half of the remaining atoms transition, leaving one quarter of the original parent material. In the third half-life, half again transition, and so on.

Age of the Earth

Aristotle thought the earth had existed eternally. Roman poet Lucretius, intellectual heir to the Greek atomists, believed its formation must have been relatively recent, given that there were no records going back beyond the Trojan War. The Talmudic rabbis, Martin Luther and others used the biblical account to extrapolate back from known history and came up with rather similar estimates for when the earth came into being.

Within decades observation began overtaking such thinking. In the s Nicolas Steno formulated our modern concepts of deposition of horizontal strata.

Overview · Convective mantle and radioactivity · Invention of radiometric dating · Arthur.

An Essay on Radiometric Dating. Radiometric dating methods are the strongest direct evidence that geologists have for the age of the Earth. All these methods point to Earth being very, very old — several billions of years old. Young-Earth creationists — that is, creationists who believe that Earth is no more than 10, years old — are fond of attacking radiometric dating methods as being full of inaccuracies and riddled with sources of error. When I first became interested in the creation-evolution debate, in late , I looked around for sources that clearly and simply explained what radiometric dating is and why young-Earth creationists are driven to discredit it.

I found several good sources, but none that seemed both complete enough to stand alone and simple enough for a non-geologist to understand them. Thus this essay, which is my attempt at producing such a source. Theory of Radiometric Dating. Common Methods of Radiometric Dating. Possible Sources of Error. Creationist Objections to Radiometric Dating.

Independent Checks on Radiometric Dating. Summary and Sources. Theory of radiometric dating.

How Do We Know How Old the Earth Is?


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