dating a reformed alcoholic - Radioactive dating age earth

James Hutton, a physician-farmer and one of the founders of the science of geology, wrote in 1788, “The result, therefore, of our present inquiry is, that we find no vestige of a beginning, — no prospect of an end.” Although this may now sound like an overstatement, it nicely expresses the tremendous intellectual leap required when geologic time was finally and forever severed from the artificial limits imposed by the length of the human lifetime.

radioactive dating age earth-83

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Lord Kelvin and Clarence King calculated the length of time required for the Earth to cool from a white-hot liquid state; they eventually settled on 24 million years.

James Joly calculated that the Earth’s age was 89 million years on the basis of the time required for salt to accumulate in the oceans.

Over time, radioactive isotopes change into stable isotopes by a process known as radioactive decay.

Some radioactive parent isotopes decay almost instantaneously into their stable daughter isotopes; others take billions of years.The rates of decay of various radioactive isotopes have been accurately measured in the laboratory and have been shown to be constant, even in extreme temperatures and pressures.These rates are usually expressed as the isotope's half-life--that is, the time it takes for one-half of the parent isotopes to decay.Comparing the mass and luminosity of the Sun to those of other stars, it appears that the Solar System cannot be much older than those rocks.Calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions—the oldest known solid constituents within meteorites that are formed within the Solar System—are 4.567 billion years old, giving an age for the Solar System and an upper limit for the age of Earth.It is hypothesised that the accretion of Earth began soon after the formation of the calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions and the meteorites.

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