Age dating meteorites

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.

After Henri Becquerel's initial discovery in 1896, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium in 1898; and in 1903, Pierre Curie and Albert Laborde announced that radium produces enough heat to melt its own weight in ice in less than an hour.

Geologists quickly realized that this upset the assumptions underlying most calculations of the age of Earth.

This was a challenge to the traditional view, which saw the history of Earth as static, He assumed that Earth had formed as a completely molten object, and determined the amount of time it would take for the near-surface temperature gradient to decrease to its present value.

His calculations did not account for heat produced via radioactive decay (a then unknown process) or, more significantly, convection inside the Earth, which allows the temperature in the upper mantle to remain high much longer, maintaining a high thermal gradient in the crust much longer.

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