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From the beginning of this course, we have stated that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old.
How do we know this and how do we know the ages of other events in Earth history?
A more modern way of stating the same principle is that the laws of nature (as outlined by the laws of chemistry and physics) have operated in the same way since the beginning of time, and thus if we understand the physical and chemical principles by which nature operates, we can assume that nature operated the same way in the past.
Principle of Superposition Because of Earth's gravity, deposition of sediment will occur depositing older layers first followed by successively younger layers.
Although the types of trash in each pit is quite variable, each layer has a distinctive kind of trash that distinguishes it from other layers in the pits.
The goal of this lecture is come to come to a scientific understanding of geologic time and the age of the Earth.
In order to do so we will have to understand the following: To better understand these concepts, let's look at an archeological example: Imagine we are a group of archeologists studying two different trash pits recently discovered on the Tulane University campus and at the Audubon Zoo (where they all aksed for you).
Prior to the late 17th century, geologic time was thought to be the same as historical time.
Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh, Ireland, 1654, added up generations from the Old Testament and determined that Earth formed on October 23, 4004 BCE.