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Earth's Oldest Rock Dates Back 4.4 Billion Years, Crystal Study Confirms

By Macrina Cooper-White

earth timeline

Ever heard this life advice? When solving a big problem seems impossible, break it into smaller steps.

Well, scientists just took one of geology’s biggest controversies and shrunk it down to atomic size. 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.

“We’ve proved that the chemical record inside these zircons is trustworthy,” said John Valley, lead study author and a geochemist at the University of Wisconsin, …read more

Source: Huffington Post Green