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Crystal Confirmed As Oldest Known Piece of Earth

Crystal Confirmed As Oldest Known Piece of Earth

On a sheep farm in Australia - scientists from the University of Wisconsin have found what they believe is the oldest piece of Earth ever discovered.

"Here it is, a zircon crystal 4.4 billion years old. That's almost as old as the earth itself which is thought to be 4.5 billion years old." (Via CBS)

The crystals are thought to have formed just millions of years after our planet was only a ball of molten rock - much too hot to support life or even land masses. (Via History Channel)

The study's lead researcher, professor John Valley, said in a statement, "This confirms our view of how the Earth cooled and became habitable... This may also help us understand how other habitable planets would form." (ViaUniversity of Wisconsin)

The zircon crystals are so tiny, if you were holding one in the palm of your hand you wouldn't even know it without a microscope. They come in all different shapes and can be completely transparent all the way to a deep red color.

According to researchers, Jack Hills in Western Australia, the sheep farm where the crystals were found was actually a beach about 3 billion years ago. The scientists say even then the crystals were merely a speck of sand. (Via NASA)

Now, the position of the atoms in the crystals is how the researchers determined their age, but some critics say it's possible those atoms could have shifted - making the crystal appear older than they actually are. But the study's lead researcher explained to NPR his team was able to confirm the age using an instrument that can extract atoms from the crystals.

And a geologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology backed up the method, "I think people will be impressed with the technique and impressed with the conclusions and agree with them... Now we're talking about a history on this planet that goes back to almost the day that the planet was born."

Valley's team is now using that technique to look at zircons from the moon brought back from the Apollo astronauts. The hope is one day they will stumble over a larger form of a zircon that dates back just as far, if not farther than the new findings.

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lunarstruck February 25 2014 at 3:22 AM

I'd love to know how all you radical Christians and bible-thumpers explain this one.

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jdforthun February 25 2014 at 2:49 AM

I would like to know what they used to guess that time line when the earth is less than 10,000years old, were they there, no and they are so full of themselves for thinking they can determind that something is billions of years old, God created the universe and all living things!!!

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2 replies to jdforthun's comment
lunarstruck February 25 2014 at 3:23 AM

Ever hear of carbon dating? If you're too stupid to understand science, try religion instead.

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jeff February 25 2014 at 3:47 AM

Seriously, the "were they there" argument again? Were you there when your God supposedly created the Earth? No? Then how do you know that that's what happened? You read it from a book that got all of its stories from generations of stories passed down from parent to child? Have you ever played the game "Telephone"? If you have, you'd know that the message distorts after just a few retellings. Imagine how badly the stories must have been distorted after a few generations of being passed down. Remember, written language came after the creation of these stories. It's not like they just handed down or copied the stories throughout the generations. It had to be remembered and retold. Human memory is not a reliable thing, so to put any faith in the stories passed down is to ignore any semblance of sensible thinking.

To think that you're more intelligent than the scientists who have developed these methods of determining a substance's age (which, I'll remind you, are widely accepted in the scientific community as being accurate) is nothing more than you stroking your ego. You should probably try not to criticize someone until you actually understand the science behind determining an object's age. You should also probably avoid criticizing people more intelligent than you until you learn how to proofread your comments.

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JackieRay February 25 2014 at 1:58 AM

I thought it all went back to big bang then its all same age if this crystal no larger than a grain of sand how old was the grain of sand next to it

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1 reply to JackieRay's comment
jeff February 25 2014 at 3:50 AM

The age of the crystal would tell us when the crystal actually formed, not when the matter was created. It's a similar process to determining how long an animal has been dead; even though the matter was created at the beginning of the universe, you can still determine how long the animal has been dead because there are measurable things within the cells that allow us to accurately determine its age.

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onemissourian February 25 2014 at 1:16 AM

ALL THE HACKERS IN THE WORLD AND THEY CAN'T FIND OUT HIS COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTES ? I'D SURE BE INTERESTED

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DougNLilly February 25 2014 at 1:13 AM

Nothing in the universe is new. It is all made of matter and life is made of carbon base. Nothing disappears, its form is just changed, sometimes to carbon form like when something is burned. SO you cannot say one rock or piece of sand is older than another. If we use science basis of the big bang theory there was a giant mass that exploded and we are all part of that original mass. SO how does some matter differ in age than other pieces of matter? Guess we better go back to the creation belief because science is based on speculation when it comes to this. Carbon dating is not accurate.

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4 replies to DougNLilly's comment
adika3z February 25 2014 at 1:01 AM

WRONG year number.
no birthdate on crystal gem,
people are makeup their minds about number of years,
that is stupid and wrong idea

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Hello, Enrique! February 25 2014 at 12:33 AM

WHO CARES, YOU ARE SO DRAMATIC.........

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ccp February 25 2014 at 12:29 AM

GO WISCONSIN!!

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holygems.com February 25 2014 at 12:19 AM

do not forget to show it's birth certified, so i can believe, for now i want to keep my faith in tact by taking the Word of God as my base to stand on, Jesus say he formed the universe and i believe his word to be accurate! so keep you billions of years wile explain to me how come in few short years an elephant our a wale cam become so big, why dinosaurs was not able to do the same! which is to grow at those great sizes in one thousand years e disaper?

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1 reply to holygems.com's comment
jeff February 25 2014 at 3:56 AM

...What?

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petbirdpro February 25 2014 at 12:07 AM

Evolution Hypothesizers wandering in the darkness... :) Here's a bit of light that should help explain where they went astray: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gjvuwne0RrE Only for the brave hearts ... as it will destroy your FAITH in evolution.

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1 reply to petbirdpro's comment
wuwu February 25 2014 at 12:14 AM

Odd those wandering in the dark pages of fairy tales are the ones accussing the sound minded of doing just that, sad really.

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1 reply to wuwu's comment
paxrail February 25 2014 at 2:53 AM

Don't be ridiculous.

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