What are being called the “oldest bits of crust” have been found on a sheep ranch in Australia. This zircon crystal is considered the oldest known thing on Earth.
A zircon crystal has been discovered in the Jack Hills region of Western Australia. It is confirmed to be the oldest bit of the Earth’s crust, at about 4.4 billion years old.
Specifically, the zircon crystal is 4.374 billion years old, plus or minus 6 million years. The scientists performing this study confirmed the age of the zircon crystal with a method called atom-probe tomography, along with a technique called secondary ion-mass spectrometry.
The Earth, itself, is considered by scientists to be about 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus 20 million years.
The discovery was made by an international team of researchers. They were led by the American geoscience professor John Valley of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.