Evidence of Earth’s First Rains Found Trapped Within Primordial Crystals : ScienceAlert | Science

New research finds Earth’s surface was first sprinkled with fresh water some 4 billion years ago, a whole 500 million years earlier than previously thought.

A team of researchers from Australia and China used isotopes of oxygen trapped in ancient minerals to determine when the first signs of fresh water may have dampened the skin of our newborn planet.

The Jack Hills in Western Australia hold the oldest surviving material from the Earth’s crust. For 4.4 billion years, the primordial minerals remained relatively unchanged by heat and pressure.

The dry, red, dusty landscape doesn’t get much water these days, but scientists found evidence of the Earth’s oldest rains trapped inside the rock’s Hadean zircon crystals, and it’s a big change to our understanding of the planet’s hydrological history.

“By examining the age and oxygen isotopes in tiny crystals of the mineral zircon, we found unusually light isotopic signatures as far back as four billion years ago,” says geologist and lead…

Source www.sciencealert.com

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