Dating the age of the earth

23 Mar

When Holmes presented the findings at a meeting of the Geological Society of London two years later, he was “violently attacked” by critics.

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This spawned several earnest — if not entirely successful — attempts to determine the age of the Earth based on ongoing natural processes.

Modern geologists date minerals called zircons, tiny crystals that form in volcanic eruptions and that are hardy enough to survive for billions of years.

Zircons consist of silica, oxygen and the element zirconium, but are occasionally contaminated with uranium as they form.

(Native Americans had known about and utilized the iron fragments since prehistoric times.) Researchers used uranium-lead techniques to date the meteorite back 4.54 billion years, give or take about 70 million — the best age for our planet so far, according to the U.

This age has been determined with the radioactive dating technique.