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As a result, rocks that record its earliest history have not been found and probably no longer exist.
Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence that the Earth and the other bodies of the Solar System are 4.5-4.6 billion years old, and that the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe are older still.
Samples for dating are selected carefully to avoid those that are altered, contaminated, or disturbed by later heating or chemical events.
In addition to the ages of Earth, Moon, and meteorites, radiometric dating has been used to determine ages of fossils, including early man, timing of glaciations, ages of mineral deposits, recurrence rates of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the history of reversals of Earth's magnetic field, and the age and duration of a wide variety of other geological events and processes.
After his death she edited the third edition of the Principles.
Arthur died at 20 St John's Avenue in Putney, London on 20 September 1965, at the age of 75. After she died in 1938, Holmes in the following year married Doris Reynolds, a geologist who had joined the teaching staff at Durham.
Eighteen years later his achievements were recognised, when he became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1942.
In the following year he was appointed to the chair of geology at the University of Edinburgh, following the death of Prof Thomas James Jehu, which post he held until retirement in 1956.
He obtained his doctorate (of Science) in 1917 and in 1920 joined an oil company in Burma as chief geologist.
The company failed, and he returned to England penniless in 1924.
The principal evidence for the antiquity of Earth and its cosmic surroundings is: Spontaneous breakdown or decay of atomic nuclei, termed radioactive decay, is the basis for all radiometric dating methods.