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08-Sep-2020 15:03

By their chemical nature, rock minerals contain certain elements and not others; but in rocks containing radioactive isotopes, the process of radioactive decay generates exotic elements over time.By measuring the concentration of the stable end product of the decay, coupled with knowledge of the half life and initial concentration of the decaying element, the age of the rock can be calculated.Studies of strata, the layering of rocks and earth, gave naturalists an appreciation that Earth may have been through many changes during its existence.These layers often contained fossilized remains of unknown creatures, leading some to interpret a progression of organisms from layer to layer.

In Darwin's theory of evolution, the process of random heritable variation with cumulative selection requires great durations of time.

Even more constraining were Kelvin's estimates of the age of the Sun, which were based on estimates of its thermal output and a theory that the Sun obtains its energy from gravitational collapse; Kelvin estimated that the Sun is about 20 million years old.



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