A tiny crystal of zircon, too small to be seen with the naked eye, may hold the key to determining what really happened shortly after the Earth was formed. A tiny crystal of zircon, too small to be seen with the naked eye, may hold the key to determining what really happened shortly after the Earth was formed.The speck measures only 200 by 400 microns, the equivalent diameter of two strands of human hair, but as far as import goes, it’s age makes up for its size. It was extracted from a farm in Western Australia.Dated to be about 4.4 billion years old, the zircon crystal has some scientists wondering if prevailing theories about when life sprouted up on our planet are wrong.Here’s their reasoning.If the planet formed roughly 4.5 billion years ago, that materials such as zircon existed so soon after means that Earth formed its crust 100 million years before commonly believed. In order for the planet to do so, its surface temperature needed to be cooler than current science estimates it was. That also implies planet’s surface temperature was low enough to allow for the existence of water, and where there’s water, there’s probably life or, at least, will be in no time. Some, however, are contesting the results of these dating studies. [cut this from vo]
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