An Australian Zircon Crystal is 4.4 Billion Years Old

"We weren't expecting to find a sample at 4.4 billion because our prejudice said that the earliest part of the earth was so violent that no samples would be preserved.Now, we realize that is not correct."

- Prof. John Valley, Geologist, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Tiny zircon crystal that uranium and lead isotopes indicate was formed on earth 4.4 billion years ago. BSE on left is Back Scattered Electrons which concerns average density of crystal. Three black areas are inclusions of quartz which indicates the crystal was created in continental surface crust. CL on right is Cathode Luminescence. Photograph courtesy of geologist William H. Peck.
Tiny zircon crystal that uranium and lead isotopes indicate was formed on earth 4.4 billion years ago. BSE on left is Back Scattered Electrons which concerns average density of crystal. Three black areas are inclusions of quartz which indicates the crystal was created in continental surface crust. CL on right is Cathode Luminescence. Photograph courtesy of geologist William H. Peck.

January 14, 2001  Madison, Wisconsin - Another surprising find on earth is revolutionizing thinking about what the earth was like at its beginning. For the past fifteen years, geologists have been studying very ancient rock outcroppings in the Australian outback at a place called Jack Hills several hundred kilometers northeast of Perth.

 

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