How Old is the Earth

Slowly and painstakingly, geologists have assembled this record into the generalized geologic time scale shown in Figure 1. This was done by observing the relative age sequence of rock units in a given area and determining, from stratigraphic relations, which rock units are younger, which are older, and what assemblages of fossils are contained in each unit. Using fossils to correlate from area to area, geologists have been able to work out a relative worldwide order of rock formations and to divide the rock record and geologic time into the eras, periods, and epochs shown in Figure 1. The last modification to the geologic time scale of Figure 1 was in the s, before radiometric dating was fully developed, when the Oligocene Epoch was inserted between the Eocene and the Miocene. Although early stratigraphers could determine the relative order of rock units and fossils, they could only estimate the lengths of time involved by observing the rates of present geologic processes and comparing the rocks produced by those processes with those preserved in the stratigraphic record. With the development of modern radiometric dating methods in the late s and s, it was possible for the first time not only to measure the lengths of the eras, periods, and epochs but also to check the relative order of these geologic time units. Radiometric dating verified that the relative time scale determined by stratigraphers and paleontologists Figure 1 is absolutely correct, a result that could only have been obtained if both the relative time scale and radiometric dating methods were correct. Nonetheless, stratigraphy and radiometric dating of Precambrian rocks have clearly demonstrated that the history of the Earth extends billions of years into the past. Radiometric dating has not been applied to just a few selected rocks from the geologic record. Literally many tens of thousands of radiometric age measurements are documented in the scientific literature.

Dear Science: How do we know how old the Earth is?

Decay routes[ edit ] The above uranium to lead decay routes occur via a series of alpha and beta decays, in which U with daughter nuclides undergo total eight alpha and six beta decays whereas U with daughters only experience seven alpha and four beta decays. The term U—Pb dating normally implies the coupled use of both decay schemes in the ‘concordia diagram’ see below. However, use of a single decay scheme usually U to Pb leads to the U—Pb isochron dating method, analogous to the rubidium—strontium dating method.

Finally, ages can also be determined from the U—Pb system by analysis of Pb isotope ratios alone. This is termed the lead—lead dating method.

The Age of Earth. David Pratt. According to theosophy, the earth is about two billion years old – a figure in agreement with ancient Hindu teachings. In the uranium-lead dating method, for instance, it is generally assumed that all the uranium in a rock has been present from the time it formed, The age of the Earth, igins.

In order to be used as a natural clock to calculate the age of the earth, the processes generating lead isotopes must meet the four conditions of a natural clock: Dalrymple cites examples of lead isotope dating that give an age for the earth of about 4. Lead isotopes are important because two different lead isotopes Pb and Pb are produced from the decay series of two different uranium isotopes U and U. Since both decay series contain a unique set of intermediate radioactive isotopes, and because each has its own half-life, independent age calculations can be made from each Dalrymple The presence of a stable lead isotope that is not the product of any decay series Pb allows lead isotopes to be normalized, allowing for the use of isochrons and concordia-discordia diagrams as dating tools.

Two other characteristics of lead isotope measurements make it superior to other methods. First, measuring the isotope ratio of a single element can be done much more precisely than measuring isotope ratios of two differing elements. Second, using two isotopes of the same element makes the sample immune to chemical fractionation during a post-crystallization disturbance Dalrymple The commonly accepted 4. This model, which describes the accumulation of lead isotopes in meteorites, the Earth, and the Solar System, was proposed independently by E.

Gerling, Arthur Holmes, and Fritz G.

Dating the Earth via Canyon Diablo Meteorite (help needed)

Science Advisor Drakkith said: I think these will act mostly as sources of errors, unless accounted for. For example, if you only count lead and uranium, and ignore all the intermediaries, then you’ll end up underestimating the initial uranium content and the age estimate will be too high.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Uranium-lead is one of the oldest [1] and most refined of the radiometric dating schemes, with a routine age range of about 1 million years to over billion years, and with routine precisions in the percent range. [2] The method relies on two separate decay chains, the uranium series from U to Pb, with a half-life of billion years.

The zircon mineral incorporates uranium and thorium atoms into its crystalline structure, but strongly rejects lead. Therefore, we can assume that the entire lead content of the zircon is radiogenic. Where crystals such as zircon with uranium and thorium inclusions do not occur, a better, more inclusive, model of the data must be applied. These types of minerals often produce lower precision ages than igneous and metamorphic minerals traditionally used for age dating, but are more common in the geologic record.

Interaction between mineralogy and radioactive breakdown During the alpha decay steps, the zircon crystal experiences radiation damage, associated with each alpha decay. This damage is most concentrated around the parent isotope U and Th , expelling the daughter isotope Pb from its original position in the zircon lattice. In areas with a high concentration of the parent isotope, damage to the crystal lattice is quite extensive, and will often interconnect to form a network of radiation damaged areas.

These fission tracks inevitably act as conduits deep within the crystal, thereby providing a method of transport to facilitate the leaching of lead isotopes from the zircon crystal. The above equation is thus equal to: Which can be rearranged: The more common form of the equations finally are:

Confirmed: Oldest Fragment of Early Earth is 4.4 Billion Years Old

Reference to a case where the given method did not work This is perhaps the most common objection of all. Creationists point to instances where a given method produced a result that is clearly wrong, and then argue that therefore all such dates may be ignored. Such an argument fails on two counts: First, an instance where a method fails to work does not imply that it does not ever work.

The question is not whether there are “undatable” objects, but rather whether or not all objects cannot be dated by a given method.

Uranium–lead (U–Pb) dating is one of the oldest and most refined of the radiometric dating schemes. It can be used to date rocks that formed from about 1 million years to over billion years ago with routine precisions in the –1 percent range.

Nicolas Steno — , the Catholic bishop who formulated foundational principles in stratigraphy, paleontology, and even crystallography. Below, I have compiled what I deem the most convincing reasons—in no particular order—that the Earth is not less than 10, years old. Those readers from a young-Earth background might be quick to point out that many of the evidences listed below have been refuted by creation ministries in their article databases.

Those article databases are primarily built to rationalize what are indeed strong evidences against the young-Earth position. How do we know from geology that the Earth is greater than 10, years old? Annual bands in the cross section of a temperate tree original image here. Since we have no reason to suspect that these trees could have formed multiple rings in any given year, these trees provide two constraints: Long-term records of glacial ice can be dated by counting annual layers beyond 10, years.

These annual layers can be recognized not only by appearance, but variations in chemistry , which removes any assumptions about growth rate during these intervals and precludes the possibility that multiple rings formed each year. Varved sediments with more than 10, layers, such as Lake Sugietsu , Lake Van , and the Cariaco Basin , to name a few. From Figure 4 in Reimer et al.

Uranium/lead dating provides most accurate date yet for Earth’s largest extinction

And were far too low. But once radioactive decay of uranium and thorium was realised to release heat along with alpha particles, that picture and its result of about million years had to be revised. The acceptance of Drawin’s theories of evolution and natural selection argued for a much longer time scale than million years, in any case. Radiometric techniques are now used, based on the balance of various isotopes of lead the ratio of Pb to Pb in particular found in rocks, as a result of the radioactive decay chains of thorium and uranium, which lead to stable isotopes of lead and the age of the earth can then be calculated, in knowledge of the half-lives of each of the nucleides in the decay chains.

But which rocks to study? Studies of the age of rocks on the earth’s surtface tend to produce too low an estimate of its age, because of weathering, erosion and tectonic plate movement.

The uranium-lead dating method has produced so many anomalous readings that it has fallen into disrepute, even among Evolutionists. “It should be noted that dates (absolute dates) obtained by different methods [radioactive dating methods] commonly show some discrepancies.

See Article History Dating, in geology , determining a chronology or calendar of events in the history of Earth , using to a large degree the evidence of organic evolution in the sedimentary rocks accumulated through geologic time in marine and continental environments. To date past events, processes, formations, and fossil organisms, geologists employ a variety of techniques. These include some that establish a relative chronology in which occurrences can be placed in the correct sequence relative to one another or to some known succession of events.

Radiometric dating and certain other approaches are used to provide absolute chronologies in terms of years before the present. The two approaches are often complementary, as when a sequence of occurrences in one context can be correlated with an absolute chronlogy elsewhere. Ankyman General considerations Distinctions between relative-age and absolute-age measurements Local relationships on a single outcrop or archaeological site can often be interpreted to deduce the sequence in which the materials were assembled.

This then can be used to deduce the sequence of events and processes that took place or the history of that brief period of time as recorded in the rocks or soil.

Clocks in the Rocks

At the time that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, the earth was “scientifically” determined to be million years old. By , it was found to be 1. In , science firmly established that the earth was 3. Finally in , it was discovered that the earth is “really” 4. In these early studies the order of sedimentary rocks and structures were used to date geologic time periods and events in a relative way.

Jun 13,  · E.g., if of the total lead+uranium atoms you find in your sample half is lead, then it tells you that ~ billion years must have passed, since that’s the half-life of uranium (i.e. time after which half of its original atoms decay).

The first facts about the Earth were worked out by the Ancient Greeks. He thought the Earth must have developed by slow, natural forces. He studied geology in the field. He could see signs of erosion on land and sedimentation in the sea. His work stayed in manuscript until after his death, when it was published after its editor had made changes which damaged it. Now there is a better modern edition based on the manuscripts. He also recognized the true nature of fossils , and had early ideas about evolution.

In Charles Lyell ‘s Principles of Geology —33 , he showed that the Earth had changed slowly, and that what we see is the result of gradual changes. This clearly meant that the Earth was ancient , though Lyell did not try to work out how old. His younger friend Charles Darwin believed this, too. Darwin saw that if evolution had taken place, it would have required a long time. Also, a huge amount of sedimentary rock lies between the early fossils in the Cambrian strata , and the present land surface.

Darwin and Lyell agreed that it would have taken a very long time for so much rock to be deposited.

The Age of Earth

Radiometric dating Radiometric dating utilizes the decay rates of certain radioactive atoms to date rocks or artifacts. Uniformitarian geologists consider this form of dating strong evidence that the Earth is billions of years old. However, research by creationists has revealed a large number of problems with radiometric dating. In some cases such as Carbon dating , radioactive dating actually gives strong evidence for a young Earth , while other methods such as K-Ar dating and Isochron dating are based on faulty assumptions and are so unreliable as to be useless.

Carbon dating Main Article:

It was based on uranium-lead dating: the rate of decay of uranium to lead in the crust of the Earth, by Henry Norris Russell. He came up with 2 to 8 billion years. [1] p27, table In , H.E. Suess estimated 4 to 5 billion years, based on a whole array of radioactive isotopes.

Paleovalley-related uranium resources include sandstone-, lignite- and calcrete-style deposits that are developed within the host sediments deposited in paleovalleys. The critical features of paleovalley-related uranium deposits include sediment and uranium sources, geological setting, depositional environment, age and relative timing of mineralization, aquifer characteristics, availability and distribution of reductants, and preservation potential of the uranium mineral system.

This set of information provides a basis to establish the uranium mineralization model, which can then be used to assist with generating targets for uranium exploration and prospectivity analysis of a region. With respect to Sino-Australian examples, paleovalley-related uranium deposits form mostly around the margins of sedimentary basins and the mineralization is commonly hosted within channel fills contained within paleovalleys developed upon, or proximal to, Precambrian crystalline rocks that contain primary uranium sources.

The deposits that have been well studied show remarkably similar factors that controlled the formation of paleovalley-related uranium deposits. In these regions, extensive fluvial systems developed particularly during Mesozoic and Cenozoic times, uranium from the bedrock was first dispersed into the sediments, and then concentrated to form deposits through successive chemical remobilization, precipitation and concentration.

The mineralization is developed where oxidizing fluids carrying dissolved U reacted with reductants in the sediments. Geological, geophysical and geochemical features of the paleovalleys and related uranium deposits are used to construct models to understand host sediment distribution, fluid flow and ore genesis that can assist exploration for paleovalley-hosted uranium deposits. Precise geometric definition of the basin margin and paleovalley architecture is important in identifying exploration targets and improving the effectiveness of drilling.

Refinements in remote sensing, geophysical and data processing techniques, in combination with sedimentological and depositional interpretations, provide an efficient approach for outlining the principal drainage patterns and channel dimensions.

Uranium–lead dating

The age of the Earth was a matter of speculation till very recent times and as such there was divergence of opinions about the antiquity of the Earth. Until recently geology relied extensively on the concept of the relative age of rocks. The determination of the age of the earth was attempted through two distinct processes?

Valley and colleagues have previously used uranium-lead radioactive dating to determine the age of a zircon crystal sample (named 01JH), which was found 15 years ago in metamorphosed.

Unlike the radioactive isotopes discussed above, these isotopes are constantly being replenished in small amounts in one of two ways. The bottom two entries, uranium and thorium , are replenished as the long-lived uranium atoms decay. These will be discussed in the next section. The other three, Carbon , beryllium , and chlorine are produced by cosmic rays–high energy particles and photons in space–as they hit the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Very small amounts of each of these isotopes are present in the air we breathe and the water we drink. As a result, living things, both plants and animals, ingest very small amounts of carbon , and lake and sea sediments take up small amounts of beryllium and chlorine The cosmogenic dating clocks work somewhat differently than the others. Carbon in particular is used to date material such as bones, wood, cloth, paper, and other dead tissue from either plants or animals.

To a rough approximation, the ratio of carbon to the stable isotopes, carbon and carbon , is relatively constant in the atmosphere and living organisms, and has been well calibrated. Once a living thing dies, it no longer takes in carbon from food or air, and the amount of carbon starts to drop with time. Since the half-life of carbon is less than 6, years, it can only be used for dating material less than about 45, years old. Dinosaur bones do not have carbon unless contaminated , as the dinosaurs became extinct over 60 million years ago.

But some other animals that are now extinct, such as North American mammoths, can be dated by carbon Also, some materials from prehistoric times, as well as Biblical events, can be dated by carbon

607 #18 – Absolute radiometric age dating of rocks and geologic materials