Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Australian National University have found new evidence that environmental conditions on early Earth, within 200 million years of solar system formation, were characterized by liquid-water oceans and continental crust similar to those of the present day. The researchers developed a new thermometer that made the discovery possible.
"Our data support recent theories that Earth began a pattern of crust formation, erosion, and sediment recycling as early in its evolution as 4.35 billion years ago, which contrasts with the hot, violent environment envisioned for our young planet by most researchers and opens up the possibility that life got a very early foothold," said E. Bruce Watson, Institute Professor of Science and professor of geochemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
According to Watson, the research provides important information and a new technique for making additional discoveries about the first eon of Earths history, the Hadean eon, a time period for which still little is known.
Tiffany Lohwater | EurekAlert!
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