Uranium Radioactive Decay Series. Age of the Solar System The discovery of "deep time", the idea that time in our universe is measured in billions of years , goes back at least to the speculations of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant , the French mathematician and astronomer Pierre Simon Laplace and the Scottish naturalist James Hutton Kant and Laplace proposed the " nebular hypothesis " of the origin of the solar system, whereby the planets formed from condensation out of matter orbiting the early Sun. Obviously such an origin implies enormous amounts of time.
The Earth's lithosphere is broken up into chunks called plates with densities around 3. Oceanic crust is only about 6 kilometers thick. The continental plates are made of another volcanic type of silicates called granite. Continental crust is much thicker than oceanic crustup to 35 kilometers thick. With densities of 2. The mantle convection causes the crustal plates to slide next to or under each other, collide against each other, or separate from one another in a process called plate tectonics. Plate tectonics is the scientific theory that describes this process and how it explains the Earth's surface geology.
There are several ways to figure out relative ages, that is, if one thing is older than another. For example, looking at a series of layers in the side of a cliff, the younger layers will be on top of the older layers. Or you can tell that certain parts of the Moon's surface are older than other parts by counting the number of craters per unit area. The old surface will have many craters per area because it has been exposed to space for a long time.
The discovery of the radioactive properties of uranium in by Henri Becquerel subsequently revolutionized the way scientists measured the age of artifacts and supported the theory that Earth was considerably older than what some scientists believed. However, one of the most widely used and accepted method is radioactive dating. All radioactive dating is based on the fact that a radioactive substance, through its characteristic disintegration, eventually transmutes into a stable nuclide.