A Legit "Young Earth" Theory: Our Planet May Be Only 4.4 Billion Years Old

By Joseph Calamia | July 12, 2010 4:50 pm

103957main_earth8The bits that make up Earth apparently took their time pulling themselves together. New research hints that our home didn’t form as a fully-fledged planet until 70 million years after its currently accepted birth date, making the planet younger than scientists believed.

The evidence appears in Nature and looks at the Earth’s “accretion”–the swirling together of gas and dust that formed our planet. Researchers previously believed that the Earth’s accretion was a fairly steady process, happening in about 30 million years, but this study suggests that Earth took a lot longer to form.

“The whole issue hinges on working out how long it took for the core of the Earth to form, which is one of the big unknowns in this area of science,” said Dr. John Rudge, one of the authors at the University of Cambridge. “One of the problems has been that scientists usually presume Earth’s accretion happened at an exponentially decreasing rate. We believe that the process may not have been that simple and that it could well have been a much more staggered, stop-start affair.” [The Telegraph]

Specifically, the scientists compared isotopes in our planet’s mantle with those found in meteorites, which are as old as the solar system. The researchers used meteorites as samples of our embryonic planet’s materials, and by comparing the isotopes in these building materials to the final product–the earth’s mantle–they could make several computer models to determine how the planet formed.

After looking at models using different isotopes, the researchers believe that the planet had one great growth spurt (sticking together about two-thirds of the Earth’s current mass) followed by a period of long slow growth. They say the formation could have ended with a walloping by a planet-sized chunk of materials that gave us the last of our mass and also broke off a chunk to form the Moon.

“If correct, [this model] would mean the Earth was about 100 million years in the making altogether,” Dr. Rudge said. “We estimate that makes it about 4.467 billion years old–a mere youngster compared with the 4.537 billion-year-old planet we had previously imagined.” [BBC]

Related content:
80beats: Life May Have Formed on Earth Thanks to a Lush, Enveloping Haze
80beats: When the Sun Was Young, Did It Steal Comets From Other Stars?
80beats: Why Didn’t the Young Earth Freeze Into an Ice Ball?
80beats: Scientist Smackdown: Did a Nuclear Blast on Earth Create the Moon?
80beats: Young Earth May Have Had Tectonic Plates, Not Hellish Magma Oceans

Image: NASA

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antares Planet Antares

    Interesting. I say it was formed 3 billion years ago but I have no scientific evidence or research for my guestimate. Just a random guess. Haha.

    Still amazes me how scientist do this stuff.

  • cgray

    Anti-Christian bigots at it again. This site would be a lot more readable if some of your contributors left their hatred at home.

  • AlexB

    @ cgray…
    uh, what in the world are you saying? they’re poking fun at an insanely stupid belief held by idiotic reality deniers…to call them bigots is taking a huge unwarranted step in another direction.

    that being said, im pretty skeptical. why do they think using those meteorites would give them an accurate representation of the earth’s early formation? is it just because they happen to be the same age as the solar system? seems like a pretty weak correlation. but what do i know?

    it’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

  • http://www.thefinaltheft.com SaraKessell

    @ cgray

    Yes, this site may be more readable to ignorant, anti-scientific, close minded religious zealots if we removed all references to logic and reason as well. Unfortunately, that would somewhat defeat the point.

    Also, lets look at the definition of the term ‘bigot’:

    “a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices”

    Now who does that describe more accurately? A person who clings desperately to implausible religious dogma, or the person who is constantly reevaluating their beliefs based on new evidence?

  • Cory

    Discover regularly puts out anti-creationist and even anti-intelligent-design material out, why would they flinch from poking a bit of fun of the most extreme and untenable theory in that camp?

  • Chris D

    Great to see scientists agreeing with Christians – again! Let’s not get hung up on this guys – after all, when God created the universe I’m sure there was a HUGE BANG! For those athiests out there, someone still has to explain where the ingredients for the God-free big bang came from. Without God, surely you can’t make something (ie the Big Bang) from nothing? There are so many proofs of the existance of God, it’s amazing how people still deny His existance. Still not sure – have a look at UTube for Louie Giglio – it will blow you away.

  • Lainey

    Chris D, actually I think believers have to explain where God came from, in order to create the big bang. In an atheists view, God isn’t needed because everything can happen normally without God, but if believers are going to invoke God as the cause, then they better have an explanation of how God was created! Or surely they are just making up a theory, the same as Atheists and scientists, using the best information we have about the conditions of the early universe. Oh yeah, except believers completely disregard things like information and evidence, and just make up whatever theory makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside ( a free ticket to heaven would be a nice bonus too!).

  • woody

    to chris d if you are so convinced that god must have started the big bang then who or what created god, since everything has to start somewhere where did god come from

  • God

    It is all rather simple.

    Some mathematicians and physicists figured out that the verse is eleven-dimensional.
    Of course, only odd dimensions exist, the even dimensions are a construct, a fudge that represent a certain way of providing a scaffold, as it were.

    I reside in the 11th dimension. Causally, the 11th dimension is a result of certain manipulation of previous dimensions. In reality, it is what you call “a chicken and an egg problem”. I am expressed in all the odd dimensions (remember, the even dimensions are essentially a construct).

    To help you a bit, to get the idea how this works, imagine that by some mechanism, you are transported into 5th dimension. What you will notice is that the time acquires unusual properties. It would seem as if time is now perpendicular, rather than a linear property of time-space. Which would translate in human terms to time being always “now”. There is no past and no future. There just is. The causality then follows another rule set. You’ll all encounter this and grapple with it after you “die”. You are all multi-dimensional beings and your current state is a form of a projection. In a sense, you are all part of me.

    From a 11-dimensional point of view, the question of primary element (I, prime mover, what-have-you) is nonsensical. It is not possible to translate the working of 7-dimensional fold to your conceptual framework, let alone 11-dimensional one. You will be in a better position to understand once you find yourself in 5-dimensional realm–getting a glimpse of the next fold. You will still not understand 9, 11. You’d have to go through a process of learning and growth.

    In other words, the linear time, as you conceptualize it, is an illusion. It helps you, though, organize relationships between different aspects of your existence and perceptions.

    As for the accretion model (and let be honest–you have no other way to conceptualize reality than through modeling; it is unavailable to your senses and perception in direct fashion), it is a wrong model. It does not work as you think it does. If you applied strict logic and utilized what you know at your present, you’d realize you are on a wrong track.

    Some of your scientists figured it out, not in its entirety–but they are on the right track. In the next 25 years, thanks to them, your model of the verse would change substantially. The discoveries would also change your concepts of human prehistory and history and also they will be mirrored in your existential sphere.

    Ah, the question, of course… What is the purpose of your existence?

    See, you are really looking at the issue from the wrong direction. The question is really an answer!

    You are welcome!

  • Lainey

    OK, God, even if we take your word for it that you live in the 11th dimension, you still haven’t explained where you came FROM! :)

  • God

    Lainey, think about it. You don’t have a conceptual framework to verbalize other reality than you are familiar with–which is your 3-dimensional time-space. The concept of “from” relates to it and is restricted to it. You’ll get closer to resolving the puzzle once you have a better conceptional framework available when you leave the restricted realm. Mind you, there is a purpose to it that you are in it, don’t be hasty in enjoyment of it!

    If I were to find the closest expression, that would somewhat convey, in a reduced form, an answer to your question, it would be: from everywhere and everywhen.

    I interject rarely, only when I know you already have the answers, I just formulate them for you. Until the next time…

    Be well and remember to use the faculties you were given! ;-)

  • JaberwokWSA

    Amen.

  • http://www.nicky510.com Crow

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. You mean this:

    http://www.nicky510.com/comic/quite-the-balancing-act/

    isn’t correct?

  • http:/teleprestexan.blogspot.com/ Stephen Daugherty

    Here’s what I would say: God wanted us to believe in him based on faith anyways.

    If you want to look at the Big Bang, and say God was behind it, you’re free to do so. The only thing is that because we’re dealing with a scientific theory, nothing about that theory necessitates God’s involvement. You can believe that the beauty of the world, it’s complexity, and everything else means there must be a God, but it will never be something you can prove.

    I’d say don’t depend on the outcomes of scientific investigations, or the discrediting of science for your faith. Simply accept that if you believe in God, God made the world, and had a reason for making it the way he did. Truth does not contradict Truth.

  • badnicolez

    Thou art god. I am god. He is god. She is god. Grass is god. Cats are god. Viruses are god. Mushrooms are god.

    Sorry to digress – I just fininshed reading Stranger in a Strange Land again, which makes as much (or more) sense to me as any other religion, real or fictional.

    On topic: “scientists usually presume Earth’s accretion happened at an exponentially decreasing rate”

    Why would they do that? Based on what evidence?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/07/12/a-legit-young-earth-theory-our-planet-may-be-only-4-4-billion-years-old/ nichole barnes

    I think it honest to blog, this is pretty freakin’ dumb. The earth was created whenever it was created no doubt about it, or to get all techniqual & shizz.! Everybody is still living so no need to get your panties in a bunch. I mean come on, who cares who said what & when what started. The earth was created so animals & other living organisms can live freely. Not be studied for what they are. Geez! Leave life alone.

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