Confirmed: Oldest Fragment of Early Earth is 4.4 Billion Years Old

Oldest Fragment of Early Earth

From LiveScience  --  By zapping single atoms of lead in a tiny zircon crystal from Australia, researchers have confirmed the crystal is the oldest rock fragment ever found on Earth — 4.375 billion years old, plus or minus 6 million years.  Confirmation of the zircon age holds enormous implications for models of early Earth. Trace elements in the oldest zircons from Australia's Jack Hills range suggest they came from water-rich, granite-like rocks such as granodiorite or tonalite, other studies have reported. That means Earth cooled quickly enough for surface water and continental-type rocks just 100 million years after the moon impact, the massive collision that formed the Earth-moon system.

For the complete article, visit LiveScience.  Another non-technical article can be found at Smithsonian.com.

The original article was published in Nature Geoscience.

Image from John Valley / University of Wisconsin-Madison.