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: New, tighter timeline confirms ancient volcanism aligned with dinosaurs' extinction

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microbial 'signature' for sexual crimes

7 hours ago

Bacterial communities living on an individual's pubic hairs could be used as a microbial 'signature' to trace their involvement in sexual assault cases, according to a study published in the open access journal Investigative Ge ...

Brazil: Google fined in Petrobras probe

9 hours ago

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Atari's 'E.T.' game joins Smithsonian collection

9 hours ago

One of the "E.T." Atari game cartridges unearthed this year from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert has been added to the video game history collection at the Smithsonian.

Sony threatens to sue for publishing stolen emails

9 hours ago

A lawyer representing Sony Pictures Entertainment is warning news organizations not to publish details of company files leaked by hackers in one of the largest digital breaches ever against an American company.

Microsoft builds support over Ireland email case

9 hours ago

Microsoft said Monday it had secured broad support from a coalition of influential technology and media firms as it seeks to challenge a US ruling ordering it to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland.

Recommended for you

Improving forecasts for rain-on-snow flooding

7 hours ago

Many of the worst West Coast winter floods pack a double punch. Heavy rains and melting snow wash down the mountains together to breach riverbanks, wash out roads and flood buildings.

The Greenland Ice Sheet: Now in HD

8 hours ago

The Greenland Ice Sheet is ready for its close-up. The highest-resolution satellite images ever taken of that region are making their debut. And while each individual pixel represents only one moment in time, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.