Zircons: Time Capsules from the Early Earth

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Zircons are tiny crystals with a big story to tell. Some of these minerals are the oldest Earth materials ever discovered, and therefore yield clues about what the planet was like after it formed 4.5 billion years ago. In this new Science Bulletins video, travel to a remote island off Greenland's coast and a zircon-making lab in New York State to learn how geologists are using these time capsules to build new hypotheses about the early Earth.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Each Bulletin is produced by AMNHs curatorial and scientific staff and a team of video producers, designers, writers, and educators using state-of-the-art technologies such as high-definition video, data visualization, and 3-D computer graphics to present the latest research

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Just WOW, Thanks for that Grrl. Science is amazing.

Zircon dating is no doubt the reason why my favorite fossils, from the early Upper Ordovician Edinburg formation of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, are dated at 455 to 456 Myr, a precision that could not have been dreamed of when I first used HCl to etch remains of trilobites and other things out of the Edinburg formation exposed in Strasburg, VA in 1967. For a citation on the date, see the paper in one of the 2005 issues of the Journal of Paleontology (I think it was April) on the new trilobite genus and species Strasburgaspis. Of course some of my friends and acquaintances in Texas would claim a greater precision, yet, based on a literal reading of Biblical texts, i.e., some time after 4004 B.C. but before or during the Noachian Flood.

By biosaprite (not verified) on 28 Jul 2010 #permalink