Legwork dating

Other naturalists used these hypotheses to construct a history of Earth, though their timelines were inexact as they did not know how long it took to lay down stratigraphic layers.

In 1830, geologist Charles Lyell, developing ideas found in James Hutton's works, popularized the concept that the features of Earth were in perpetual change, eroding and reforming continuously, and the rate of this change was roughly constant.

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It is hypothesised that the accretion of Earth began soon after the formation of the calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions and the meteorites.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.Their values were consistent with Thomson's calculations.In 1895 John Perry challenged Kelvin's figure on the basis of his assumptions on conductivity, and Oliver Heaviside entered the dialogue, considering it "a vehicle to display the ability of his operator method to solve problems of astonishing complexity." Other scientists backed up Thomson's figures. Darwin, proposed that Earth and Moon had broken apart in their early days when they were both molten.He calculated the amount of time it would have taken for tidal friction to give Earth its current 24-hour day.However, they assumed that the Sun was only glowing from the heat of its gravitational contraction.The process of solar nuclear fusion was not yet known to science.For biologists, even 100 million years seemed much too short to be plausible.In Darwin's theory of evolution, the process of random heritable variation with cumulative selection requires great durations of time.He did not realize that the Earth mantle was convecting, and this invalidated his estimate.In 1895, John Perry produced an age-of-Earth estimate of 2 to 3 billion years using a model of a convective mantle and thin crust.

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