Scientists discover a 4-billion-year-old ancient fragment of Earth's crust beneath Western Australia

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Researchers found evidence of a nearly 4 billion-old piece of Earth's crust that exists southwest of Western Australia by using lasers to target microscopic grains of mineral sand.

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Researchers found evidence of a nearly 4 billion-old piece of Earth's crust that exists southwest of Western Australia by using lasers to target microscopic grains of mineral sand.

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This new discovery helps explain how the planet evolved from uninhabited to supporting life. A 4B old piece of the crust has been influencing the geological evolution of WA for billions of years.

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This piece of the crust has survived several mountain-building events between Australia, India, and Antarctica and is still present at depths of tens of kilometers below the southwest corner of the WA.

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When comparing our findings to existing data, it appears that many regions around the world have experienced similar periods of early crust formation and preservation.

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This suggests a significant change in Earth's evolution about four billion years ago, as the meteorite bombardment subsided, the crust stabilized and life began to establish itself on Earth.

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Research Supervisor Dr. Milo Barham said this area had not been studied extensively before and the results revealed exciting new insights when compared to existing data.

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The edge of an ancient piece of crust defines an important crustal boundary where economically important minerals are found (Dr Barham Said).