Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

2015 Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen W. Thompson

Age of the Earth

  • Peter BarryEmail author
  • Larry Taylor
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6304-3_65


Accretion time of Earth; Earth formation age; Planetary differentiation; Timing of core formation


Current constraints on the age of the Earth suggest accretion began approximately 4.54 ± 0.05 b.y.a., shortly after the formation of the solar system (∼4.567 b.y.a.). However, the exact accretion time of Earth is difficult to determine, with predictions from different accretion models ranging from a few million up to about 100 m.y. after the formation of the solar system. Not surprisingly, our understanding of the age of the Earth is deeply rooted in our overall understanding of planetary science, particularly in our ability to accurately date meteorites using various radiogenic chronometers (e.g., U–Pb). The present-day best estimate for the age of the Earth is not decidedly different than the initial estimate of 4.55 ± 0.07 b.y.a. made by Patterson in his pioneering 1956work. However, the resolution of the U–Pb isotope system is still not high enough to distinguish...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA