Image by Clarisse Meyer

Earth Science

021 Dating Earth History


High school students are interested in natural history and want to know how the Earth works and how we can data

Earth’s history throughout its existence. Students had a little background in Earth Science and mathematics.


This workshop aims to introduce students to the tools of dating aspects of Earth history, from its formation and early development through the origin and evolution of life, mountain building processes, climate change through geologic time, and the beginning and history of humans on Earth. Students will learn how different dating tools are needed for different timescales and select the appropriate device for a given question. The final project will tackle planning a research project that would date a significant event or interval and include details of the tool(s) selected and how they are likely to further our understanding of the topic of choice.

【Sample research topics】

  • When did Earth’s core form, and what is the first evidence for a magnetic field? 

  • Where and when did humans evolve, and how did they populate Earth?

  • What is the meteorite impact history of Earth, and how have these natural catastrophic events altered biological evolution?

  • What is the history of significant igneous events, and how have they changed climate in the past? 

  • The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM~55 million years ago) is the most recent event that appears to be possibly analogous to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing. How can we get better time constraints to test models of future climate change? 

  • How can we use past geological evidence for ice-sheet histories to inform what will happen to Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets?