Geo101.08.AgeoftheEarth

Geo101.08.AgeoftheEarth - 1 The Age of the Universe Our...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 The Age of the Universe Our current estimate as to the age of the Universe, the time elapsed from the Big Bang to the present day, is about 13.7 0.2 billion years Age of the Universe Author Date Age Method Hubble 1929 2 GA Red-shift of stars and galaxies Gamow 1947 2.5 GA Red-shift of stars and galaxies Bok 1952 5 GA Galactic clusters NASA 1999 13.5 GA Expansion of universe What about the age of the Earth? And how do we know that? Early estimates of the age of the Earth In 1654, archbishop James Ussher added up the generations of patriarchs described in the Judo-Christian Old Testament and concluded that the Earth was created on October 23, 4004 BC By the mid 19th century, more than a hundred biblical scholars had estimated the age of the Earth. Based on biblical estimates, it was suggested that the Earth was created between 5400 to 9000 years ago. During the Renaissance, scientists began to speculate that the age of the Earth might far exceed that of historical record Some of the earliest hints came from the study of seashell -like shapes found in sedimentary rocks. These shapes were called fossils , from the Latin meaning dug up. 2 In 1669, a Danish scientist, Nicolas Steno , argued that fossils were not a result of the supernatural, but were relics of ancient life. Steno published his Fndings in Forerunner to a dissertation on a solid naturally occurring within a solid In 1785, a Scottish doctor, James Hutton , published a book entitle The theory of the Earth with proofs and illustrations. Hutton is considered the father of modern geology. Hutton argued that physical processes we observe today also operated in the past and that these processes were responsible for the formation of geologic features we see in the rocks As far as time, the early nineteenth-century view is based on James Huttons (1788) aphorism, ..we Fnd no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end. This would become known as uniformitarianism coined in 1832 by William Whewell , who also coined the term catastrophism for the preceding idea that the Earth had been created through supernatural means and had then been shaped by a series of catastrophic events caused by forces which no longer prevailed. Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology Frst appeared in 1830, reasserted very strongly the principle of strict uniformitarianism, for Lyell insisted that, given sufFcien time, present-day forces operating at present rates could have produced all observable geological phenomena. 3 By the end of the nineteenth century, the doctrine of a steady-state Earth of indeFnite age had been replaced by the understanding that present geological processes provide guides to, and constraints upon, past geological events: No vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end of Hutton had been replaced by The present is the key to the past (Chamberlin, 1899; BurchFeld, 1975)....
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Geo101.08.AgeoftheEarth - 1 The Age of the Universe Our...

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