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Oldest known Earth fragment discovered

Posted on Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 | Comment icon 12 comments

A cut Zircon crystal. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Gunnar Ries Amphibol
Scientists have identified a zircon crystal in Australia that dates back more than 4.375 billion years.
Among some of the toughest materials on the planet, Zircons are important to scientists as not only can they survive the tumultuous conditions that followed the Earth's formation but some can also trap small bubbles of gas from the planet's earliest atmosphere.

The discovery in Australia of a crystal dating back to just 165 million years after the Earth formed has therefore provided experts with a unique opportunity to learn more about the atmospheric conditions at that time. What they discovered was that the Earth is likely to have cooled within just 100 million years of the collision that brought about the formation of the moon.

"The zircons show us the earliest Earth was more like the Earth we know today," said geochemist John Valley who lead the study. "It wasn't an inhospitable place."

Source: Fox News | Comments (12)

Tags: Zircon, Crystal

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by qxcontinuum on 25 February, 2014, 13:29
Bullocks, the dating methods we are using are inaccurate. There is no way to tell how old it truly is.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 on 25 February, 2014, 13:45
Bullocks, the dating methods we are using are inaccurate. There is no way to tell how old it truly is. They're actually not inaccurate. That's why we use them.
Comment icon #5 Posted by YukiEsmaElite0 on 25 February, 2014, 13:48
Regardless, if that image is the same type of rock, it's beautiful. Just goes to show that with age, there's beauty.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Calibeliever on 25 February, 2014, 16:44
Bullocks, the dating methods we are using are inaccurate. There is no way to tell how old it truly is. Please explain?
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer on 25 February, 2014, 19:10
This article says a collision. A while ago an article here theorized the Earth stole the Moon from Venus. I feel like Vinnie Barbarino "I'm so confused!"
Comment icon #8 Posted by dummy2b on 25 February, 2014, 20:39
You are not alone.Ever Tom Dick and Harry that says they know what happen a billion years ago are confused too.
Comment icon #9 Posted by watoom on 25 February, 2014, 22:58
Yes, but unless you were there to see the rocks form, you can't know how old they are. - Ken Ham Ken Ham is an embarrassment to Australia
Comment icon #10 Posted by seaturtlehorsesnake on 26 February, 2014, 3:02
Bullocks, the dating methods we are using are inaccurate. There is no way to tell how old it truly is. if every geologist in the world slammed their head into a desk upon seeing this post, it would cause a minor seismic event. fact.
Comment icon #11 Posted by psyche101 on 26 February, 2014, 3:59
Ken Ham is an embarrassment to Australia And that is being very kind.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Codenwarra on 26 February, 2014, 9:38
I've seen the instruments used for this, in the basement at Geoscience Australia in Canberra. There are several around the world. Zircons dated in 2000 or 2001.

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