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How Do We Know the Age of the Earth?

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The Earth is 4.565 billion years old, give or take a few million years. How do scientists know that? Since there’s no “established in” plaque stuck in a cliff somewhere, geologists deduced the age of the Earth thanks to a handful of radioactive elements. With radiometric dating, scientists can put an age on really old rocks — and even good old Mother Earth. For the 30th anniversary of National Chemistry Week, this edition of Reactions describes how scientists date rocks.

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Writer:
Sam Lemonick

Producer:
Sean Parsons

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Narrator:
Kyle Nackers

Co-Writer/Scientific consultant:
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.

Scientific consultant:
Pieter Vermeesch, Ph.D.

References:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/GSL.SP.2001.190.01.14
http://apps.usd.edu/esci/creation/age/content/current_scientific_clocks/lead_isotopes.html
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-science-figured-out-the-age-of-the-earth/
https://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/parks/gtime/ageofearth.html#age
http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/lectures/age_of_the_earth/age_of_the_earth.html
http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/12/3/pdf/i1052-5173-12-3-16.pdf
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/03/06/dear-science-how-do-we-know-how-old-the-earth-is/
https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/age.html

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