Sunday, 13 June 2010

When Earth became 120 million years younger

This planet is much younger than astronomers assumed. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen

Did you notice that Earth just lost 120 million years of its age? Even if you haven’t, the implications of a recent study should probably cause us to take a more critical approach to the idea of millions of years of Earth history.

Nikolai Gogol’s character Chichikov collected names of the deceased in Dead Souls into lists of the living. In like manner, later-day astronomers have included non-existent years into their model.

It seems that they have already collected too much of them.

Recently, Tais W. Dahl of the University of Copenhagen and David J. Stevenson of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) defined the ages of Earth and the Moon with the help of tungsten isotopes and published their research in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Dahl and Stevenson decided to cut off 120 million years from the age of Earth after examining the elements in its mantle.

According to ScienceDaily,

The age of Earth and the Moon can be dated by examining the presence of certain elements in Earth's mantle. Hafnium-182 is a radioactive substance, which decays and is converted into the isotope tungsten-182. The two elements have markedly different chemical properties and while the tungsten isotopes prefer to bond with metal, hafnium prefers to bond to silicates, i.e. rock.”

Dahl and Stevenson suggest that Earth and the Moon were formed "only" 150 million years after the origin of the solar system. It was previously assumed that the age difference was 30 millions years.

It seems that the world is becoming younger and younger.

However, even the latest estimate does not take into account the Creator who could make everything much faster.


Earth and Moon Formed Later Than Previously Thought, New Research Suggests. ScienceDaily 9 June 2010.