Geologic time covers the whole sweep of earth's history, from how and when the earth first formed, to everything that has happened on, in, and to the planet since then, right up to now. Geologists analyze geologic time in two different ways: in terms of relative geologic age, and in terms of absolute or numeric geologic age. The combination of these two types of geologic ages makes a complete record of earth's geologic history in terms of the order of events and in terms of how many years ago each event occurred. Relative geologic age refers to the order in which geologic events occurred. Relative geologic age is established, based on such evidence as the order in which layers of sediment are stacked, with the younger layer originally on top. By using the principles of relative geologic age, the sequence of geologic events -- what happened first, what happened next, what happened last -- can be established.
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Several zircon crystals from Australia have been dated to have an estimated age of 4. Which statement BEST describes the period of formation of these crystals? Which method would be BEST for scientists to use to determine the absolute age of a Precambrian igneous rock? Which best describes how ice cores are important to the study of geologic history?
Radiometric Age Dating
The problem : By the mid 19th century it was obvious that Earth was much older than years, but how old? This problem attracted the attention of capable scholars but ultimately depended on serendipitous discoveries. Early attempts : Initially, three lines of evidence were pursued: Hutton attempted to estimate age based on the application of observed rates of sedimentation to the known thickness of the sedimentary rock column, achieving an approximation of 36 million years. This invoked three assumptions: Constant rates of sedimentation over time Thickness of newly deposited sediments similar to that of resulting sedimentary rocks There are no gaps or missing intervals in the rock record. In fact, each of these is a source of concern.
Scientists can use more than one method to determine the age of the Earth. Recall that relative age simply states that an object is older or younger than another object. Absolute-age dating is numerical. It is specific regarding the number of years old an object is before the present.