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Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh, Ireland, 1654, added up generations from the Old Testament and determined that Earth formed on October 23, 4004 BCE.The goal of this lecture is come to come to a scientific understanding of geologic time and the age of the Earth.Photo 1: Many people consider Grand Canyon National Park the world’s premiere geologic landscape and a “geologic wonder”.

by isotope K/Ar in mica, especially in the crystalline rock: igneous and metamorphic rock.

There's no absolute age-dating method that works from orbit, and although scientists are working on age-dating instruments small enough to fly on a lander (I'm looking at you, Barbara Cohen), nothing has launched yet. Relative age dating has given us the names we use for the major and minor geologic time periods we use to split up the history of Earth and all the other planets.

When you talk about the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic on Earth, or the Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian for Mars, these are all relative ages.

Further confusion arises when one publication or geologist says, for example, that the Kaibab Formation is 270 m.y. The same questions arise for the other rock units at Grand Canyon. This article will answer these questions by providing a short primer on geologic dating methods and how they were applied to Grand Canyon rocks.

We then describe Grand Canyon rocks as belonging to three “sets,” or packages of rocks, each with unique geologic histories, and present a compilation of “best” numeric ages for Grand Canyon rocks to use when explaining Grand Canyon geology to the public.

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