Tectonics Study: Jack Hills

Dustin Trail, University of Rochester.
May 14, 2021
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Rocky hills with minimal foliage
Dustin Trail, University of Rochester.

The Jack Hills of Western Australia, where the zircons studied were sampled from 15 grapefruit-sized rocks collected by the research team.

Scientists led by Michael Ackerson, a research geologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, provide new evidence that modern plate tectonics, a defining feature of Earth and its unique ability to support life, emerged roughly 3.6 billion years ago. The study, published May 14 in the journal Geochemical Perspective Letters, uses zircons, the oldest minerals ever found on Earth, to peer back into the planet’s ancient past.

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