Age dating meteorites

Their values were consistent with Thomson's calculations.

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.

Because the time this accretion process took is not yet known, and predictions from different accretion models range from a few million up to about 100 million years, the difference between the age of Earth and of the oldest rocks is difficult to determine.

It is also difficult to determine the exact age of the oldest rocks on Earth, exposed at the surface, as they are aggregates of minerals of possibly different ages.

He calculated the amount of time it would have taken for tidal friction to give Earth its current 24-hour day.

His value of 56 million years added additional evidence that Thomson was on the right a lower limit for the age of the Solar System.It is hypothesised that the accretion of Earth began soon after the formation of the calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions and the meteorites.Huxley, attacked Thomson's calculations, suggesting they appeared precise in themselves but were based on faulty assumptions.The physicist Hermann von Helmholtz (in 1856) and astronomer Simon Newcomb (in 1892) contributed their own calculations of 22 and 18 million years respectively to the debate: they independently calculated the amount of time it would take for the Sun to condense down to its current diameter and brightness from the nebula of gas and dust from which it was born.The process of solar nuclear fusion was not yet known to science.