Zircon remnants trace planetary evolution

Mar 18, 2008

A Canadian-led international team of scientists has used 3-billion-year-old zircon microcrystals to trace North America's planetary evolution.

The tiny zircon remnants were discovered in northern Ontario by an international research team led by University of Western Ontario Professor Desmond Moser. Measuring no more than the width of a human hair, the 200-million-year growth span of the ancient microcrystals is longer than any previously discovered.

Moser said the findings provide a new record of planetary evolution and contradict previous experimental predictions the crystals would change when exposed to heat and pressure upon burial in the deep Earth.

"This research shows that these crystals are incredibly resistant to change and proves, for the first time, that the growth zones we see inside them contain an accurate record of their movements through and around the Earth," said Moser.

The research appears in the March issue of the journal Geology.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Evolving plumbing system beneath Greenland slows ice sheet as summer progresses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Curtin geologists make a 'shocking' discovery

Jan 24, 2012

Research led by Curtin University geologists has uncovered a wealth of new evidence in the mineral zircon from lunar rock samples recovered during NASA’s Apollo missions, revealing indisputable proof ...

Tiny pieces of 'deep time' brought to the surface

Mar 03, 2008

Three-billion-year-old zircon microcrystals found in northern Ontario are proving to be a new record of the processes that form continents and their natural resources, including gold and diamonds.

Recommended for you

Sculpting tropical peaks

7 hours ago

Tropical mountain ranges erode quickly, as heavy year-round rains feed raging rivers and trigger huge, fast-moving landslides. Rapid erosion produces rugged terrain, with steep rivers running through deep ...

Volcano expert comments on Japan eruption

8 hours ago

Loÿc Vanderkluysen, PhD, who recently joined Drexel as an assistant professor in Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, returned Friday from fieldwork ...

NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

21 hours ago

NASA and NOAA scientists participating in NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission used their expert skills, combined with a bit of serendipity on Sept. 17, 2014, to guide the remotely piloted ...

User comments : 0