Description: Tiny crystals of a mineral called zircon have been found in the Jack Hills, and these crystals are the oldest pieces of Earth material ever found. At about 4.4 billion years old, the crystals are even older than the rocks of the Jack Hills. The crystals, which formed only a few hundred million years after the birth of the Earth itself, are so durable that they have been recycled through countless generations of rock.
These crystals provide evidence that during the first 500 million years of Earth’s history—the Hadean Eon - the Earth was cooler and wetter than scientists used to think. A gentler Hadean could have permitted life to evolve far earlier in the planet’s history than scientists originally supposed
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