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Bedrock follow me the northeast shore of Hudson Bay, Canada, has actually the earliest rock ~ above Earth.

You are watching: What part of north america contains the oldest exposed rocks?

September 25, 2008

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Canadian bedrock much more than 4 billion years old may be the oldest well-known section that the Earth"s beforehand crust.

Scientists at the Carnegie institution of Washington and McGill university in Montreal used geochemical techniques to obtain period of 4.28 billion years for samples the the rock, making it 250 million years more ancient than any previously found rocks.

The findings, which sell scientists clues to earliest stages of our planet"s evolution, are published in this week"s problem of the newspaper Science.

"This study highlights the methods in which brand-new instrumentation enables the repertoire of new data--data which lead to significant scientific discoveries," claims David Lambert, regime director in the nationwide Science foundation (rebab.net)"s division of earth Sciences, which sponsor the research.

The Nuvvuagittuq greenstone belt is one expanse of bedrock exposed top top the east shore of Hudson just in northern Quebec and also was very first recognized in 2001 as a potential website of really old rocks.

Samples the the Nuvvuagittuq rocks were analyzed by geologists Jonathan O"Neil of mc glitter University and also Richard Carlson the the Carnegie institution of Washington.

By measuring minute sport in the isotopic ingredient of the rare earth facets neodymium and also samarium in the rocks, O"Neil and Carlson determined that the rock samples selection from 3.8 to 4.28 billion years old.

The oldest dates came from rocks termed "faux amphibolite," i m sorry the researchers translate to be old volcanic deposits.

"There have been older days from west Australia for isolated resistant mineral grains referred to as zircons," states Carlson, "but these room the oldest entirety rock dates yet."

The oldest zircon days are 4.36 billion years.

Before this study, the earliest dated rocks to be from a human body of rock known as the Acasta Gneiss in the Northwest Territories, which room 4.03 billion years old.

Earth is 4.6 billion years old, and remnants that its beforehand crust are very rare--most of it has actually been mashed and recycled right into Earth"s interior several times end by plate tectonics because the earth formed.

The rocks are far-ranging not just for their good age but likewise for your chemical composition, i beg your pardon resembles that of volcanic rocks in geologic setups where tectonic plates room crashing together. "This gives us an extraordinary glimpse the the processes that created the beforehand crust," says Carlson.

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The research was likewise supported by the nationwide Science and also Engineering research study Council that Canada, and the Carnegie institution of Washington.



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