Although somewhat laughable by modern scientific standards, it was a remarkable piece of scholarship, weaving as he did the events and genealogies of the Bible with what was known about Greek and Roman history.
Trace elements trapped in the crystals may offer clues to the conditions under which the crystals were formed.
He was in good company in terms of his dates, by the way.
Johannes Kepler, the great German mathematician and astronomer, and Isaac Newton, England’s father of physics, had both calculated that the Earth was created about 4,000 years before Christ.
Oxygen isotopes and atoms of radioactive uranium trapped in the crystals are, many believe, frozen in time.
Confined as they are in these crystals, many scientists believe that the ratio of parent radioactive uranium to daughter lead atoms in zircons can be used to calculate the ages of the crystals.
From it they suggest information the secular world finds surprising about hospitable conditions on the early earth.