How Do Scientists Date Fossils?
When asked for your age, it’s likely you won’t slip with the exception of a recent birthday mistake. But for the sprawling sphere we call home, age is a much trickier matter. Before so-called radiometric dating, Earth’s age was anybody’s guess.
The billion-year radiometric ‘age’ of the earth is based on faulty Earth of b.y. rely heavily on the uranium/thorium/lead radiometric dating methods.1,2,3.
Metrics details. Earth scientists have devised many complementary and consistent techniques to estimate the ages of geologic events. Annually deposited layers of sediments or ice document hundreds of thousands of years of continuous Earth history. Gradual rates of mountain building, erosion of mountains, and the motions of tectonic plates imply hundreds of millions of years of change. Radiometric dating, which relies on the predictable decay of radioactive isotopes of carbon, uranium, potassium, and other elements, provides accurate age estimates for events back to the formation of Earth more than 4.
Historians love to quote the dates of famous events in human history. They recount days of national loss and tragedy like December 7, and September 11, And they remember birthdays: July 4, and, of course, February 12, the coincident birthdays of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln.
How Old is Earth, and How Do We Know?
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.
Skeptics of old-earth geology make great hay of these examples. Another method is to make age measurements on several samples from the.
You may have heard that the Earth is 4. This was calculated by taking precise measurements of things in the dirt and in meteorites and using the principles of radioactive decay to determine an age. This page will show you how that was done. Radioactive nuclides decay with a half-life. If the half-life of a material is years and you have 1 kg of it, years from now you will only have 0.
The rest will have decayed into a different nuclide called a daughter nuclide. Several radioactive nuclides exist in nature with half-lives long enough to be useful for geologic dating. This nuclide decays to Strontium Sr87 with a half-life of
RADIOACTIVE AGE ESTIMATION METHODS—Do they prove the Earth is billions of years old?
Radiometric dating of rocks and minerals using naturally occurring, long-lived radioactive isotopes is troublesome for young-earth creationists because the techniques have provided overwhelming evidence of the antiquity of the earth and life. Some so-called creation scientists have attempted to show that radiometric dating does not work on theoretical grounds for example, Arndts and Overn ; Gill but such attempts invariably have fatal flaws see Dalrymple ; York and Dalrymple Other creationists have focused on instances in which radiometric dating seems to yield incorrect results.
The age of the earth is a central issue in creation-evolution discussions, Now there are evidences that explain why isotopic dating methods yield such old.
H ow old is planet Earth? There are enormous differences of opinion. The most common view is that Earth is approximately 4. The lowest age defended on a scientific basis is in the 6 to 10 thousand year range. Theoretically, Creationism remains workable within a wide range of age estimates. Scientists have proposed numerous age estimation methods.
Most systems promoted by Evolutionists involve radioactivity.
The Age of the Earth
Planet Earth doesn’t have a birth certificate to record its formation, which means scientists spent hundreds of years struggling to determine the age of the planet. So, just how old is Earth? 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 have calculated that Earth is 4. Related: How Big is Earth? Scientists have made several attempts to date the planet over the past years.
They’ve attempted to predict the age based on changing sea levels, the time it took for Earth or the sun to cool to present temperatures, and the salinity of the ocean.
The age of the earth is a central issue in creation -evolution discussions, because a young earth would not permit enough time for evolution to occur, and an old earth would contradict a literal reading of the Bible account of creation. The belief in an old earth is based on conventional dates for geological periods, which are in the hundreds of millions of years range, and are obtained by isotopic dating methods.
Standard isotopic radiometric dating techniques typically yield such dates on fossil-bearing strata. There are, however, numerous disagreements between dates produced by different isotopic dating methods, and there are many cases where the dates obtained are very different from the expected ones. Furthermore, geologists are aware of a number of factors that can cause radiometric dating methods to give bad dates, and these factors are sometimes difficult to recognize.
This already casts some doubt on isotopic dating methods. Creationists have given evidence that the geological column is much younger than hundreds of millions of years, but until now they have not had a quantitative method of measuring the age of the fossils or the geologic column. Nor have they had a uniform explanation for why isotopic dating methods give such old dates.
Creation 101: Radiometric Dating and the Age of the Earth
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.
As the dating technology progressed, these methods proved The rocks and zircons set a lower limit on the age of Earth of billion years.
Earth is about 4. Geologists divide this age into major and minor units of time that describe the kinds of geological processes and life forms that existed in them. Earth’s geologic record was formed by constant change, just like those that occur routinely today. Though some events were catastrophic, much of Earth’s geology was influenced by normal weather, erosion, and other processes spread over very long geologic ages.
Accurate dating of the geologic ages is fundamental to the study of geology and paleontology, and provides important context to the life sciences, meteorology, oceanography, geophysics, and hydrology. In the mid-seventeenth century, James Ussher — , the Archbishop of Ireland, compiled a chronology of Earth by adding up the generations named in the Bible. 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, years old now.
Although Ussher also based his calculations on a painstaking analysis of many other literary sources as well as the Bible, his was not a scientific investigation. His chronology represented the common belief among Christians of his time that biblical events, including the creation account in Genesis, happened exactly as they were written. By the nineteenth century it had become a popular opinion among scientists and scholars that Earth was created in a single event and that its short history was altered only by the great biblical flood.
Ussher’s chronology was widely accepted at the time that early geologic investigators began their work.
FAQ – Radioactive Age-Dating
How Old is Old? When did the earth form? When did life begin? When did humans and the other primates first appear?
Earth scientists have devised many complementary and consistent techniques to estimate the ages of geologic events. Annually deposited.
Most absolute age determinations in geology rely on radiometric methods. The earth is billions of years old. The main condition for the method is that the production rate of isotopes stays the same through ages, i. The production of isotopes from chemical elements is known as decay rate and it is considered a constant.
Because it is driven by sun activity it was always questioned. Recent article S. Is decay constant? An isotope is a particular type of atom of a chemical element, which differs from other isotopes of that element in the number of neutrons it has in its nucleus.