Dating the gold artifacts, such as embossed gold armlets and gold oval plaques, can be tricky because the artifacts are often found isolated from one another, he said.[See Photos of Gold Treasures Found in Ming Dynasty Tomb] Standish and his colleagues analyzed the lead isotopes in the gold artifacts, and compared the values to lead isotopes measured in potential sources of the gold, to determine their origin.
When the numbers didn't match, he looked to gold sources in southwestern Britain.
Indeed, they matched closely, showing that the gold circulated in prehistoric Ireland did not come from Ireland.
The solar estimate was based on the idea that the energy supply for the solar radioactive flux is gravitational contraction.
These two independent and agreeing dating methods for of the age of two primary members of the solar system formed a strong case for the correctness of his answer within the scientific community.
Of course, Kelvin formed his estimates of the age of the Sun without the knowledge of fusion as the true energy source of the Sun.
Without this knowledge, he argued that, "As for the future, we may say, with equal certainty, that inhabitants of the Earth cannot continue to enjoy the light and heat essential to their life, for many million years longer, unless sources now unknown to us are prepared in the great storehouse of creation."The same is true of the basis of Kelvin's estimate of the age of the Earth.She researched ancient iron formations in China for her Masters of Science degree in Geosciences at the University of California, Riverside, and went on to Columbia Journalism School for a master's degree in journalism, focusing on environmental and science writing. You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.Although the artifacts were originally collected and analyzed in the 1960s, Standish's study is the first to conduct sensitive isotope analyses on the artifacts.Lead isotopes are produced by the radioactive decay of the uranium that is found mixed in with the gold in the artifacts.Over time, a uranium atom will break down into a lead atom, and scientists can measure the relative amounts of uranium and lead in a sample to figure out how much time has elapsed.