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Earlier Water On Earth? Oldest Rock Suggests Hospitable Young Planet

Date:
January 15, 2001
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Geological evidence suggests that Earth may have had surface water -- and thus conditions to support life -- billions of years earlier than previously thought. Scientists reconstructed the portrait of early Earth by reading the telltale chemical composition of the oldest known terrestrial rock. The 4.4-billion-year-old mineral sample suggests that early Earth was not a roiling ocean of magma, but instead was cool enough for water, continents, and conditions that could have supported life.

Geological evidence suggests that Earth may have had surface water -- and thus conditions to support life -- billions of years earlier than previously thought. Scientists reconstructed the portrait of early Earth by reading the telltale chemical composition of the oldest known terrestrial rock. The 4.4-billion-year-old mineral sample suggests that early Earth was not a roiling ocean of magma, but instead was cool enough for water, continents, and conditions that could have supported life. The age of the sample may also undermine accepted current views on how and when the moon was formed. The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and is published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.


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National Science Foundation. "Earlier Water On Earth? Oldest Rock Suggests Hospitable Young Planet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010111073459.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2001, January 15). Earlier Water On Earth? Oldest Rock Suggests Hospitable Young Planet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010111073459.htm
National Science Foundation. "Earlier Water On Earth? Oldest Rock Suggests Hospitable Young Planet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010111073459.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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