Earth’s Chronology from “Geotheory”

The search for an all-encompassing “theory of the Earth” (or “geotheory”) that could unite disparate natural observations was a much pursued (and sometimes much maligned) sub-discipline of the Earth sciences throughout the period covered by this exhibit. An intriguing offshoot of various geotheories were the attempts to calculate absolute chronologies from first principles, or assumptions and calculations based on an understanding of universally applicable physical processes. Collectively though, these estimates seemed unsatisfactory as absolute chronometers as they were based upon conjecture and assumption, rather than direct observation and measurement. New discoveries of the 20th century were required before true measurement-based estimates of the age of the Earth could be made.

Works Included