Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pictographic Age of the Earth

You can read a person’s life history on their face - every wrinkle, crow’s feet, frown line, forehead wrinkle, freckle peppering, tells a story of countless smiles, frowns, laughs, days at the beach, furrows and surprises.  In the same way, we can see the Earth’s story, crow’s feet, laughter lines, age and story from looking at her.

She's a beaut.

She's also quite old.

Welcome to Eniwetok atoll home of thickest and oldest known coral deposits.  Drills have gone down 4,610 feet of pure coral deposits.  Estimates of the amount of time that depth would take to produce go back as far as 40 million years.
Dendrochronology: the study of tree rings.  Using the above technique we can date logs as far back as 11,500 years before present.

Antiparos, Greece.  This cave system has some of the oldest know formations dating back to the Eocene, 45 million years ago.  Noteably, many formations there look like the world's biggest turds.  See above.

Antarctica's got ice cores going back 740,000 years.

Grand Canyon.  Rocks as old as 2 billion years.  Canyon formation took 1.2 million years.  Only a slow, steady rush of water could carve this meandering trench but leave the rest of the sediment surrounding it intact.  

Marine sediments go back 136 million years ago east of the Mariana's trench in the Pacific.
Old as dirt.  The next time you're at the beach, appreciate how old that sand may be.  Dirt near the Himalayas has been calculated at 55 million years old.
I hope you never fill up without realizing the age of what you put in your car.  I also hope you realize that the energy that powers your house (most likely fossil fuel related in America) is power stored from the sun eons ago.  Many fossil fuels were formed almost 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous period.  They could not have formed quickly.  They represent far, far, far, far too much biomass.  There are ten trillion metric tons of coal and about 10 trillion gallons of oil and natural gas in the world.

There are caves in the Grand Canyon that have piles of shasta ground sloth feces 30,000 years thick.
Above is an 11,000 year old glass sponge from the depths of the East China Sea.

All that and I didn't even mention radiometric dating and the fossil record.  Ok, I'll at least throw in a picture.  :)  Check out the beautiful, regular, ordered, specific, layering.  JBS Haldane, a biologist, said that he'd stop believing in evolution if you could find a rabbit in a Precambrian fossil layer.  He's still waiting (well, he's actually dead, but we're still waiting. hehe)

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