These techniques utilize the physical parameters of the earth, such as ice cores, annual lake sediments, and astronomical cycles.
Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica show annual layers (varves) and can be traced up to about 40,000 years before the layers become too thin due to compaction.
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But assuming the earth was formed at the time of the rest of our solar system, then recovered moon rock and meteorites can also be used to estimate the age of the earth.
These estimates give 4.4-4.5 billion years for moon rock, and 4.54 billion years for iron metreorites.
This is the crucial point: it is claimed by some that an old earth supports evolutionary theory and by implication removes the need for biblical creation.
This challenge is mainly headed by Creationism which teaches a young-earth (YE) theory.
Dating Anomalies Here we outline a few dating methods or 'clocks' that present a dating anomaly when referenced to the widely accepted OE age of 4.6 billion years. At the outset we note C-14 cannot be used to directly date the earth for the simple reason that the unstable C-14 isotope has a half-life of just 5,730 years.
In other words, half of the radioactive isotope in a sample would have decayed to Nitrogen-14 (N-14) in just 5,730 years.
This age is obtained from radiometric dating and is assumed by evolutionists to provide a sufficiently long time-frame for Darwinian evolution.
And OE Christians (theistic evolutionists) see no problem with this dating whilst still accepting biblical creation, see Radiometric Dating - A Christian Perspective.
This is based upon the spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei.