Well this is pretty crazy! A piece of rock dating back 4.4 billion years is one of the oldest pieces of the Earth’s crust ever found, and gives some key information on how our world became habitable.
Researchers extracted a piece of zircon (type of mineral) from a rock in Jack Hills, Australia. The little piece of data provides a look into the crystallisation of these minerals and also a thermal reading, looking into the temperature of the Earth, and how it eventually cooled down to form ocean, continents and down the line..us.
The team from the University of Wisconsin used a new technique atom probe tomography – the atoms inside the zircon become trapped after solidifying from lava, this radioactive uranium then slowly becomes lead, which allows for dating the atomic process. The direct date they measured was 4.374 billion years old.
During this period a lava ocean before the Earth began to cool, a meteor the size of Mars collided with our world and thus formed the moon.
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