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As mentioned yesterday, geology, chemistry and biology have all converged on the conclusion that the earth is very old. Patterson went on to demonstrate a more precise age of 4.55bn years in the early 1950s using radiometric dating.

For those of us not blessed with PhD’s in chemistry however, there are some straightforward reasons to accept a very old age of the earth.

One of these is just to recognise that lots of biomass from dead organisms is stored in the earth’s crust. Over time, animals and plants die. Some animals- small marine organisms- had their shell’s preserved as chalk. This has lead to massive accumulation of these deposits- e.g. the cliffs of Dover.

It’s easy to recognise that there’s really no way, hundreds of metres of animals would have piled up on each other in a very short space of time.

Another big source of old biomass are fossil fuels. These include peat, coal, oil and natural gas. There is so much carbon in this stored biomass, that its release into the atmosphere is actually changing green-house-gas levels.

With only some geological formations are conducive to the fossil fuel formation, even the massive oil deposits were using represent a tiny fraction of the plant and animal life that used to live on this planet.

All of this stored biomass outweighs the current biomass of this planet by a very large margin. So even with only a fraction of the biomass being captured, there’s a lot more in the earth’s crust than can be explained by a young earth. Every time you fill your car with petrol, you’re contributing to the proof that the earth is old.

A related problem is just the sheer brittleness of rocks. Rocks you might have noticed, aren’t very plastic. That contributes to some of New Zealand’s erosion problems. The East Coast has a lot of soft gray-wacke rocks, but is also an area with lots of active fault lines. That means earthquakes, less stable bedrocks, and hills and soils that are apt to being washed away in bad storms.

If scientists are wrong and the formations we see around us, was laid down much faster via accelerated, cataclysmic events, then that pretty much would shatter all those lovey mountains and hillsides we see around us. Instead of the Southern Alps rising slowly under the collision of two tectonic plates, it would have been reduced into many tiny fragments in low mounds.