How Old is the Earth

How Old is the Earth

These are K-Ar data obtained on glauconite, a potassium-bearing clay mineral that forms in some marine sediment. Woodmorappe fails to mention, however, that these data were obtained as part of a controlled experiment to test, on samples of known age, the applicability of the K-Ar method to glauconite and to illite, another clay mineral. He also neglects to mention that most of the 89 K-Ar ages reported in their study agree very well with the expected ages. Evernden and others 43 found that these clay minerals are extremely susceptible to argon loss when heated even slightly, such as occurs when sedimentary rocks are deeply buried. As a result, glauconite is used for dating only with extreme caution. The ages from the Coast Range batholith in Alaska Table 2 are referenced by Woodmorappe to a report by Lanphere and others Whereas Lanphere and his colleagues referred to these two K-Ar ages of and million years, the ages are actually from another report and were obtained from samples collected at two localities in Canada, not Alaska. There is nothing wrong with these ages; they are consistent with the known geologic relations and represent the crystallization ages of the Canadian samples.

Geological Time Scale

Are There Gaps in the Genesis Genealogies? Many view the original New Answers Book as an essential tool for modern discipleship. Both of these books answer such questions as: Can natural processes explain the origin of life? Can creationists be real scientists?

Dec 04,  · How do scientists determine the age of fossils that have been under the surface of the earth for thousands of years? Scientific American Editor .

Those charts showed that a rocky underwater feature known as Six Mile Shoal was actually a continuous underwater ridge stretching miles from northeastern Michigan to southern Ontario. Rather, it would have been a land bridge, with icy lakes on either side and the receding glacial ice sheet just a few hundred miles to the north. The ridge would probably have remained much colder than the mainland, offering a refuge in a slowly warming world for animals and vegetation adapted to very cold environments.

Such isolated pockets of archaic ecosystems that endure after broad continent-wide climate shifts are known as refugia. And if herds of caribou had once migrated across this landscape, he reasoned, there were probably people hunting them. But evidence for this way of life has been scant. Acidic soils around the Great Lakes break down bones quickly, making it difficult to find the remains of caribou—or of any ancient animal—in the region.

Any stone hunting structures that may have existed were likely either knocked down by later settlers or are impossible to distinguish from walls and rock piles created by modern inhabitants. Though the lake is notoriously unpredictable and rough on the surface, its cold lower reaches are surprisingly calm, with gentle currents and feet of visibility.

It would mean scanning hundreds of square miles of lake bed, 60 miles offshore. The chances of finding something as small as a campsite or hunting blind below the surface seemed remote. Furthermore, researching the ridge was a logistical nightmare, and meant signing up scuba-diving archaeologists, ROV operators, and boat pilots.

Geologic time scale

These principles continue to provide the basic framework within which geologists read the record of Earth history and determine relative ages. The principle of uniformitarianism states that physical processes we observe operating today also operated in the past, at roughly comparable rates, so the present is the key to the past. The principle of original horizontality states that layers of sediment, when first deposited, are fairly horizontal because sediments accumulate on surfaces of low relief such as floodplains or the sea floor in a gravitational field.

If sediments were deposited on a steep slope, they would likely slide downslope before they could be buried and lithified.

Geologic age dating is an entire discipline of its own. In a way, this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do. There are two basic approaches: relative geologic age dating, and absolute geologic age dating.

Updated 8 January c Introduction In a related article on geologic ages Ages , we presented a chart with the various geologic eras and their ages. In a separate article Radiometric dating , we sketched in some technical detail how these dates are calculated using radiometric dating techniques. As we pointed out in these two articles, radiometric dates are based on known rates of radioactivity, a phenomenon that is rooted in fundamental laws of physics and follows simple mathematical formulas.

Dating schemes based on rates of radioactivity have been refined and scrutinized for several decades. The latest high-tech equipment permits reliable results to be obtained even with microscopic samples. Radiometric dating is self-checking, because the data after certain preliminary calculations are made are fitted to a straight line an “isochron” by means of standard linear regression methods of statistics.

The slope of the line determines the date, and the closeness of fit is a measure of the statistical reliability of the resulting date. Technical details on how these dates are calculated are given in Radiometric dating.

Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale

No reproduction may be made without prior approval from the author Dr. Relative Dating of Geologic Cross-Sections: Cliffs, road cuts, and non-vegetated landscapes allow us glimpses into geology which is often hidden from view.

AGE OF THE EARTH. So far scientists have not found a way to determine the exact age of the Earth directly from Earth rocks because Earth’s oldest rocks have been recycled and destroyed by the process of plate tectonics.

Table of the geologic time scale page will open in new window Introduction Geologic time covers the whole sweep of earth’s history, from how and when the earth first formed, to everything that has happened on, in, and to the planet since then, right up to now. Geologists analyze geologic time in two different ways: The combination of these two types of geologic ages makes a complete record of earth’s geologic history in terms of the order of events and in terms of how many years ago each event occurred.

Relative geologic age refers to the order in which geologic events occurred. Relative geologic age is established, based on such evidence as the order in which layers of sediment are stacked, with the younger layer originally on top. By using the principles of relative geologic age, the sequence of geologic events — what happened first, what happened next, what happened last — can be established. Absolute geologic age refers to how long ago a geologic event occurred or a rock formed, in numeric terms, such as Some rocks and minerals can have their absolute age directly measured by analyzing the ratios of certain radioactive and non-radioactive isotopes they contain.


Also, to introduce students to the major time periods in earth’s history, as well as to the role fossils play in helping us understand this history. Context This lesson is based on an online booklet that provides an introduction to the study of earth’s history, published by the USGS. Using careful analogies and written historical records, the authors help students understand the development of the geologic time scale, including how this depended on gathering evidence and making comparisons. The major time periods in earth’s history are introduced, as well as are fossils and the role they play in helping us understand this history.

Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a way to find out how old something is. The method compares the amount of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, in samples.

This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. But carbon dating won’t work on dinosaur bones. The half-life of carbon is only 5, years, so carbon dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50, years old. Dinosaur bones, on the other hand, are millions of years old — some fossils are billions of years old. To determine the ages of these specimens, scientists need an isotope with a very long half-life.

Some of the isotopes used for this purpose are uranium , uranium and potassium , each of which has a half-life of more than a million years. Unfortunately, these elements don’t exist in dinosaur fossils themselves. Each of them typically exists in igneous rock, or rock made from cooled magma. Fossils, however, form in sedimentary rock — sediment quickly covers a dinosaur’s body, and the sediment and the bones gradually turn into rock. But this sediment doesn’t typically include the necessary isotopes in measurable amounts.

How Old Is the Earth?

Early history[ edit ] In Ancient Greece , Aristotle BCE observed that fossils of seashells in rocks resembled those found on beaches — he inferred that the fossils in rocks were formed by living animals, and he reasoned that the positions of land and sea had changed over long periods of time. Leonardo da Vinci — concurred with Aristotle’s interpretation that fossils represented the remains of ancient life. Steno argued that rock layers or strata were laid down in succession, and that each represents a “slice” of time.

He also formulated the law of superposition, which states that any given stratum is probably older than those above it and younger than those below it. While Steno’s principles were simple, applying them proved challenging.

The theory that all geologic phenomena may be explained as the result of existing forces having operated uniformly from the origin of the earth to the present time.

We often express time in hours or days, and 10 or 20 years certainly feels like a long time. Imagine if you needed to think about one million, million, or even several billion years. The Earth is 4. Have places like the Grand Canyon and the Mississippi River been around for all of those years, or were they formed more recently?

When did the giant Rocky Mountains form and when did dinosaurs walk the Earth? To answer these questions, you have to think about times that were millions or billions of years ago. Historical geologists are scientists who study the Earth’s past. They study clues left on the Earth to learn two main things: For example, they have learned that the Mississippi River formed many millions of years after the Grand Canyon began forming.

Radioactive Dating

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