4.4-billion-year-old zircon crystal fragment is oldest piece of Earth ever found

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Scientists using two different age-determining techniques have shown that a tiny zircon crystal found on a sheep ranch in western Australia dates back to 4.4 billion years ago.
There is a nice graphic that shows a brief history of the earth.

4 point 4 ba-ba-billion years old... I feel younger already. :rolleyes:

4.4-billion-year-old zircon crystal fragment is oldest piece of Earth ever found - CBS News

It continues to be an interesting world!

Joe Mobley
  • Profile picture of the author David Braybrooke
    I believe they stated that the crystal fragment was twice the thickness of a human hair. A surprise they found it at all.
    Nice to look at (magnified):

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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
      I think it was the Aussie sheep that pointed it out to them.

      Joe Mobley

      Originally Posted by David Braybrooke View Post

      I believe they stated that the crystal fragment was twice the thickness of a human hair. A surprise they found it at all.
      Nice to look at (magnified):

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      • Profile picture of the author David Braybrooke
        Originally Posted by Joe Mobley View Post

        I think it was the Aussie sheep that pointed it out to them.

        Joe Mobley
        Well they are very talented!

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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Fascinating, Joe. Thanks for the link.

          However, at the risk of derailing the thread, I'm obliged by the Frank Zappa trust to post this clip whenever I see a reference to zircon (or tweezers).

          I hope you understand.

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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Jeez - CBS was having a slow news day. I had this story on my website almost 7 years ago.

    There's rock up in Canada - a whole outcrop of it, that is presumed to be some of the first rock on earth, too. Not sure if I'd ever go through the hassle of getting to it. One of the reasons it's still there is because it's not easy to get there. Geology is incredible.
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    Sal
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  • Profile picture of the author David Maschke
    Very intriguing. Yes indeed.

    However, isn't everything made of stuff that's really old? Never heard of spontaneous matter before.

    It's called the conservation of mass and energy.

    You can feel old again.
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    • Profile picture of the author HeySal
      Originally Posted by David Maschke View Post

      Very intriguing. Yes indeed.

      However, isn't everything made of stuff that's really old? Never heard of spontaneous matter before.

      It's called the conservation of mass and energy.

      You can feel old again.
      Over time the earth's crust has turned over several times - it's continually being subducted, mixed, melted, reblended, etc -- and new earth is being pushed up. It's almost never that rocks are found that exist in their original form from that long ago.
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      • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
        Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

        Over time the earth's crust has turned over several times - it's continually being subducted, mixed, melted, reblended, etc -- and new earth is being pushed up.
        Yep!

        And... Sal has just explained why there are sea shells on tops (and sides) of mountains.

        Joe Mobley
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  • Profile picture of the author peterj
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    Look on the bright side. 4 billion years ago, people who couldn't afford diamonds could still have a little bling.
    True. In fact that 4.4 billion year old fragment is part of an old family heirloom that went missing from our family's vaults at about that time.

    We now know it was subducted by a few of the Mulrooney clan who had emigrated to Oz a couple of months earlier.
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  • Profile picture of the author workoutstuff1
    Its a beautiful fragment. Makes me wonder what the world looked like during the time this was created.
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