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This is the crucial point: it is claimed by some that an old earth supports evolutionary theory and by implication removes the need for biblical creation.
Absolute dating supplies a numerical date whilst relative dating places events in time-sequence; both are scientifically useful.
These techniques utilize the physical parameters of the earth, such as ice cores, annual lake sediments, and astronomical cycles.
Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica show annual layers (varves) and can be traced up to about 40,000 years before the layers become too thin due to compaction.
Similarly, annual lake sediments can be used to estimate relative age and conventional interpretation for the Green River varves suggests they have been formed over some 20 million years.
This implies the earth is at least 20 million years old.