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The thing that makes this decay process so valuable for determining the age of an object is that each radioactive isotope decays at its own fixed rate, which is expressed in terms of its half-life.Scientists determined the Earth's age using a technique called radiometric dating. Charles Darwin (1809–1882)The” father of modern geology” who was a proponent of Plutonism as one aspect of Earth formation but is best remembered for proposing what is now the Theory of Uniformitarianism.

Free 5-day trial Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes.

The universe is full of naturally occurring radioactive elements.

Radioactive atoms are inherently unstable; over time, radioactive "parent atoms" decay into stable "daughter atoms." When molten rock cools, forming what are called igneous rocks, radioactive atoms are trapped inside. By measuring the quantity of unstable atoms left in a rock and comparing it to the quantity of stable daughter atoms in the rock, scientists can estimate the amount of time that has passed since that rock formed.

The discovery of radioactivity and the radiogenic decay of isotopes in the early part of the 20th century opened the way for dating rocks by an absolute, rather than relative, method.

Up to this time estimates of the age of the Earth had been based on assumptions about rates of evolution, rates of deposition, the thermal behaviour of the Earth and the Sun or interpretation of religious scriptures.