1. The Bible was used in the Middle Ages to compute the age of the Earth. The 18th and 19th centuries brought a more scientific look into determining the age of the Earth by scientists studying the salinities of the oceans, the rates of sedimentation, and models of cooling of different materials in order to calculate the Earth’s age. In 1862, William Thompson calculated the Earth’s age to be 98 million years and recounted that age to determine that it was actually between 20 and 40 million years old. He used a very good method but ended up being wrong on both counts because he was unaware of the existence and all the effects that radiation caused. There was another method of aging the Earth utilizing the relative positions of rock layers. Fossils were used as benchmarks, and understanding what rocks are older than others. This relative aging helped to develop a geologic time scale. The discovery of radioactivity allowed scientists to understand heat better. The radioactive decay of elements helps scientists calculate the age of an object by using the statistics of large numbers. 2. The Solar System has evolved considerably since its initial formation. Many moons have formed from circling discs of gas and dust around their parent planets, while other moons are thought to have formed independently and later been captured by their planets. Still others, as the Earth's Moon, may be the result of giant collisions. Collisions between bodies have occurred continually up to the present day and have been central to the evolution of the Solar System. 3. Alfred Wegener first thought of this idea by noticing that the different large landmasses of the Earth almost fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The Continental shelf of the Americas fit closely to Africa and Europe, and Antarctica, Australia, India and Madagascar fit next to the tip of Southern Africa. Even though Wegener only took action after reading a paper in 1911 and seeing that a...
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