Numerical age dating methods

For centuries people have argued about the age of the Earth; only recently has it been possible to come close to achieving reliable estimates.In the 19th century some geologists realized that the vast thicknesses of sedimentary rocks meant that the Earth must be at least hundreds of millions of years old.It has even been possible to work out a time scale of the reversals of the Earth's magnetic field.This "radiometric" approach has superseded all other techniques for determining absolute ages. Their nuclei tend to emit particles spontaneously - ie, they are radioactive.These discussions were rendered obsolete by the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 by the French physicist Henri Becquerel.The existence of radioactivities of various kinds in rocks has enabled earth scientists to determine the age of the Earth, the moon, meteorites, mountain chains and ocean basins, and to draw up a reasonably accurate time scale of evolution.The vast majority of atoms (each composed of a nucleus surrounded by electrons) are stable. Because of this particle emission, the original radioactive parent atom changes its identity, becoming a different, stable daughter atom.

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Thus, they could not define a timeline for Earth history or determine the duration of events.Some evidence is also presented to show that radiometric results that are in agreement with the accepted geological time scale are selectively published in preference to those results that are not in agreement.

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