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Some of the earliest forms of life have been found in Western Australia, as announced in a 2018 study; the researchers found tiny filaments in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks that could be fossils.Other studies suggest that life originated even earlier.However, because plate tectonics constantly changes and revamps the crust, the first rocks have long since been recycled, melted down and reformed into new outcrops.Scientists also must battle an issue called the Great Unconformity, which is where sedimentary layers of rock appear to be missing (at the Grand Canyon, for example, there's 1.2 billion years of rock that can't be found).He concluded that Earth was born 20 to 400 million years ago.
Taken together, these methods give results that suggest an age for our Earth, meteorites, the moon – and by inference our entire solar system – of 4.5 to 4.6 billion years old.In the early 20th century, scientists refined the process of radiometric dating.Earlier research had shown that isotopes of some radioactive elements decay into other elements at a predictable rate.But rocks older than 3.5 billion years can be found on all continents.Greenland boasts the Isua supracrustal rocks (3.7 to 3.8 billion years old), while rocks in Swaziland are 3.4 billion to 3.5 billion years.
But Earth’s layers of rock did not give up the secret of Earth’s age easily. However, from working with layer upon layer of rock laid down on Earth over long time spans, early 20th century scientists came to believe Earth not of atoms of one chemical element into another.