The Age of the Earth

The Age of the Earth

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.

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The debris from both objects spewed into space and ultimately coalesced into our moon. Scientists trying to date this moon-forming impact have come up with a wide range of ages: That makes the moon millions and millions of years younger than some previous estimates, which were based on radioactive dating of elements like uranium. When you have an element with a known rate of radioactive decay, you can back-calculate a time for when collected moon rocks were formed.

But geochemists disagree about these numbers a lot. By analyzing the growth history of those planets from simulations, they discovered a relationship between the time the Earth was impacted and the amount of material added to our planet after that collision.

Worksheet: The geological time scale Senior Phase Grade 7 – 9 Learning area: Natural Science kind of dating is used when it is not possible to directly date a fossil. This the Earth’s surface from the study of petrology, stratigraphy and.

As a terrestrial planet, Earth is located within the Inner Solar System between between Venus and Mars which are also terrestrial planets. But the most remarkable thing about our planet is its diversity. Not only are there an endless array of plants, animals, avians, insects and mammals, but they exist in every terrestrial environment. So how exactly did Earth come to be the fertile, life-giving place we all know and love?

Size, Mass, and Orbit: With a mean radius of km and a mass of 5.

EARTH’S INTERIOR

See my copyright notice for fair use practices. Select the photographs to display the original source in another window. Links to external sites will be displayed in another window. Terrestrial planets have hard surfaces that can be re-shaped by several different processes: Impact Cratering There are still small chunks of rock orbiting the Sun left over from the formation of the solar system.

On geologically active objects (including Earth), vast outpourings of molten rock or the erosive effects of water and ice, which we call planet weathering, have erased evidence of earlier epochs and present us with only a relatively young surface for investigation.

The event took place at Macalester College in St. Paul, and was led by Jeff Thole , laboratory supervisor and instructor in the college’s Geology Department. Jeff is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about geology, and in the course of cramming a semester’s worth of geology into the two hour lab, he mentioned that he had in his office one of the oldest rocks in the world: After finishing his talk about the rock cycle, and as everyone began examining the variety of rock types spread out on lab tables in several rooms, Jeff brought out the chunk of ancient gneiss for everyone to see.

Found on an island in the extreme and very isolated northern regions of Canada’s Northwest Territories, the Acasta gneiss has been radiometrically dated to be upwards to 4. That’s a number that’s not very easy to comprehend. The Earth itself is estimated to be just a half-billion years older, so the Acasta gneiss pronounced nice is some of the very earliest crustal rock still existing on Earth’s ever-changing surface.

For a rock unit to withstand 4 billion years of the rock cycle – where the forces of erosion and plate tectonics are constantly at work wearing down, reworking and remelting rocks – that’s quite a feat if you think about it. To give you a better idea of the vast amount of time we’re talking about here, let’s first reduce it to a more comprehendible time-frame.

You’d still be watching it in , when non-avian dinosaurs suddenly go extinct about three-and-a-half weeks before the end of the video. We modern humans wouldn’t appear for the first time until sometime in the show’s last couple hours. Acasta gneiss outcrop location:

Introduction to Geology

Geologic Time The most obvious feature of sedimentary rock is its layering. This feature is produced by changes in deposition over time. With this in mind geologist have long known that the deeper a sedimentary rock layer is the older it is, but how old? Although there might be some mineral differences due to the difference in source rock, most sedimentary rock deposited year after year look very similar to one another.

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.

Abiogenesis and Evolutionary history of life Phylogenetic tree of life on Earth based on rRNA analysis Chemical reactions led to the first self-replicating molecules about four billion years ago. A half billion years later, the last common ancestor of all life arose. The resultant molecular oxygen O2 accumulated in the atmosphere and due to interaction with ultraviolet solar radiation, formed a protective ozone layer O3 in the upper atmosphere.

Aided by the absorption of harmful ultraviolet radiation by the ozone layer, life colonized Earth’s surface. This hypothesis has been termed ” Snowball Earth “, and it is of particular interest because it preceded the Cambrian explosion , when multicellular life forms significantly increased in complexity. The development of agriculture , and then civilization , led to humans having an influence on Earth and the nature and quantity of other life forms that continues today.

Global catastrophic risk Earth’s expected long-term future is closely tied to that of the Sun. Most, if not all, remaining life will be destroyed by the Sun’s increased luminosity peaking at about 5, times its present level. Shown are distances between surface relief and the geocentre. The South American Andes summits are visible as elevated areas. Data from the Earth [89] global relief model. Figure of the Earth The shape of Earth is approximately oblate spheroidal.

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Messenger If you could travel back in time 41, years to the last ice age, your compass would point south instead of north. Several ideas exist to explain why magnetic field reversals happen. One of these just became more plausible. This could affect its magnetic field and cause it to flip. On the mantle side of this boundary, solid rock gradually flows over millions of years, driving the plate tectonics that cause continents to move and change shape.

These rocks, known as “faux-amphibolites”, may be remnants of a portion of Earth’s primordial crust — the first crust that formed at the surface of our planet.

LIDAR data supports activities such as inundation and storm surge modeling, hydrodynamic modeling, shoreline mapping, emergency response, hydrographic surveying , and coastal vulnerability analysis. LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges variable distances to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LIDAR data over broad areas. Topographic LIDAR typically uses a near-infrared laser to map the land, while bathymetric lidar uses water-penetrating green light to also measure seafloor and riverbed elevations. LIDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmade environments with accuracy, precision , and flexibility.

NOAA scientists are using LIDAR to produce more accurate shoreline maps, make digital elevation models for use in geographic information systems, to assist in emergency response operations, and in many other applications.

Earth Sciences Crossword Puzzles

How is Carbon 14 produced? A lot of interesting things happen in the upper atmosphere of our world. Much of the high energy photons of the electromagnetic spectrum is filtered out by the time light gets to the surface of the earth: However, in the extreme upper atmosphere there are photons striking the atmosphere of such high energy that they initiate reactions of molecules or even change the nature of atoms themselves. Ultraviolet light is responsible for initiating chemical reactions through a process called photodissociation.

Molecules are torn apart by the energy of the ultraviolet photon.

There is more to the Earth than what we can see on the surface. In fact, if you were able to hold the Earth in your hand and slice it in half, you’d see that it has multiple layers. But of.

All diamonds are at least , , years old. Many are 3, , , years old 3. How do we know this? C-dating only works for very young carbon. You need to use other radioactive decay schemes e. Inclusions used for dating are around microns in diameter 0. Diamonds are formed deep within the Earth: Diamonds form under remarkable conditions! The temperatures are about – C in the part of the Earth’s mantle where diamonds form.

The pressure is between 45 – 60 kilobars. The volcanic magma conduit is known as a kimberlite pipe or diamond pipe.

How accurate are Carbon-14 and other radioactive dating methods?

Planets Mercury Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system with a radius of about km. It is also the planet closest to the sun at an average distance of about Mercury has a highly elliptical orbit. The length of a year on Mercury is 88 Earth days long, and a day on Mercury is 59 Earth days long. The surface temperatures at day and at night are very different, because of the thin atmosphere. The most noticeable feature is the largest impact crater on its surface, the Caloris basin.

Course Summary Get some extra help in science class with our Holt McDougal Earth Science: Online Textbook Help course. The fun video lessons and quizzes line up with the chapters in your textbook.

Astronomy 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: Introduction 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.

What are the Earth’s Layers?

But of course, the interior of our world continues to hold some mysteries for us. Even as we intrepidly explore other worlds and deploy satellites into orbit, the inner recesses of our planet remains off limit from us. However, advances in seismology have allowed us to learn a great deal about the Earth and the many layers that make it up. Each layer has its own properties, composition, and characteristics that affects many of the key processes of our planet.

Most scientists and many Christians believe that the radiometric dating methods prove that the earth is billion years old. The textbooks speak of the radiometric dating techniques, and the dates themselves, as factual information.

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. The fact that one wristwatch has failed to keep time properly cannot be used as a justification for discarding all watches. How many creationists would see the same time on five different clocks and then feel free to ignore it? Yet, when five radiometric dating methods agree on the age of one of the Earth’s oldest rock formations Dalrymple , p.

The claim that the methods produce bad results essentially at random does not explain why these “bad results” are so consistently in line with mainstream science. Claims that the assumptions of a method may be violated Certain requirements are involved with all radiometric dating methods. These generally include constancy of decay rate and lack of contamination gain or loss of parent or daughter isotope.

Old Earth Creation Science

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. These exceptional lengths of time seem unbelievable, but they are exactly the spans of times that scientists use to describe the Earth. Have places like the Grand Canyon and the Mississippi River been around for all of those years, or were they formed more recently?

Older parts of the surface slide under newer plates to be recycled in the Earth’s core. The oldest rocks ever found on Earth are – billion years old.

A number of times over the past one billion years, the Earth’s surface has “wandered” relative to its rotational axis — before returning to its original position. Now, a team of geophysicists from the US and Canada says it has developed a theory that explains this curious phenomenon of “oscillatory true polar wander”. True polar wander TPW can be defined as the relative movement between the mantle and so the surface of the Earth and the Earth’s spin axis or its rotational axis.

Incredibly, researchers believe that over the past one billion years, the Earth’s surface has “tipped over” and then returned to its original location six times along the same axis — this is the process of “oscillatory true polar wander”. Scientists have worked this out by studying magnetism in rocks — a discipline known as “paleomagnetism”. If a rock cools in a magnetic field, it records the magnetic properties of the field and these can be decoded in the lab millions of years later.

So, by measuring changes in the orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field that are stored in ancient rocks, scientists can “see” the effects of the oscillatory TPW. But this in itself is not news — earth scientists have known for a while that TPW does occur and they even know why. They believe that the initial shift of the pole — or the Earth tipping over — is caused by large-scale flows in the Earth’s interior known as “mantle convection”, involving thermal convection currents that carry heat from the Earth’s core to the surface.

Predictions of The End of The World


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