News Origin Of Life

Earth’s crust cooled only 160 million years after solar system formed, says new Australian zircon study

Spread the love

From Phys.org:

With the help of a tiny fragment of zircon extracted from a remote rock outcrop in Australia, the picture of how our planet became habitable to life about 4.4 billion years ago is coming into sharper focus.

Writing today (Feb. 23, 2014) in the journal Nature Geoscience, an international team of researchers led by University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscience Professor John Valley reveals data that confirm the Earth’s crust first formed at least 4.4 billion years ago, just 160 million years after the formation of our solar system. The work shows, Valley says, that the time when our planet was a fiery ball covered in a magma ocean came earlier. More.

Oldest bit of crust firms up idea of a cool early Earth
Note zircon formed at far left, in relation to origin of life/Andree Valley

Here’s the abstract:

Hadean age for a post-magma-ocean zircon confirmed by atom-probe tomography

The only physical evidence from the earliest phases of Earth’s evolution comes from zircons, ancient mineral grains that can be dated using the U–Th–Pb geochronometer1. Oxygen isotope ratios from such zircons have been used to infer when the hydrosphere and conditions habitable to life were established2, 3. Chemical homogenization of Earth’s crust and the existence of a magma ocean have not been dated directly, but must have occurred earlier4. However, the accuracy of the U–Pb zircon ages can plausibly be biased by poorly understood processes of intracrystalline Pb mobility5, 6, 7. Here we use atom-probe tomography8 to identify and map individual atoms in the oldest concordant grain from Earth, a 4.4-Gyr-old Hadean zircon with a high-temperature overgrowth that formed about 1 Gyr after the mineral’s core. Isolated nanoclusters, measuring about 10 nm and spaced 10–50 nm apart, are enriched in incompatible elements including radiogenic Pb with unusually high 207Pb/206Pb ratios. We demonstrate that the length scales of these clusters make U–Pb age biasing impossible, and that they formed during the later reheating event. Our tomography data thereby confirm that any mixing event of the silicate Earth must have occurred before 4.4 Gyr ago, consistent with magma ocean formation by an early moon-forming impact4 about 4.5 Gyr ago. (paywall)

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (origin of life)

Follow UD News at Twitter!

7 Replies to “Earth’s crust cooled only 160 million years after solar system formed, says new Australian zircon study

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I liked the graph they included in their paper. A graph which can be enlarged here:

    Isotopic Evidence For Life Immediately Following Late Bombardment – Graph
    http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/.....bitofc.jpg

    As to the late heavy bombardment, here is a good graph and article by Dr. Hugh Ross:

    Late Heavy Bombardment – graph
    http://www.reasons.org/Media/D.....8_0000.jpg

    Could Impacts Jump-Start the Origin of Life? – Hugh Ross – article
    http://www.reasons.org/could-i.....rigin-life

    Hugh Ross comments on the huge problem that the late heavy bombardment presents for Naturalists/Materialists here,,,

    Dr. Hugh Ross – Origin Of Life Paradox (Late Heavy Bombardment; No prebiotic chemical signatures)- video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4012696

    “We get that evidence from looking at carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis. And it tells us that in Earth’s oldest (sedimentary) rock, which dates at 3.80 billion years ago, we find an abundance for the carbon signature of living systems. Namely, that life prefers carbon 12. And so if you see a higher ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 that means that carbon has been processed by life. And it is that kind of evidence that tells us that life has been abundant on earth as far back as 3.80 billion years ago (when water was first present on earth).,,, And that same carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis tells us that planet earth, over it entire 4.5662 billion year history has never had prebiotics. Prebiotics would have a higher ratio of carbon 13 to carbon 12. All the carbonaceous material, we see in the entire geological record of the earth, has the signature of being post-biotic not pre-biotic. Which means planet earth never had a primordial soup. And the origin of life on earth took place in a geological instant” (as soon as it was possible for life to exist on earth).
    – Hugh Ross – quote as stated in preceding video –

    Moreover, we now have evidence for photosynthetic life suddenly appearing on earth, as soon as water was able to appear on earth when it had suffieciently cooled down from the late heavy bombardment, in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth.

    When did oxygenic photosynthesis evolve? – Roger Buick – 2008
    Excerpt:,, U–Pb data from ca 3.8?Ga metasediments suggest that this metabolism could have arisen by the start of the geological record. Hence, the hypothesis that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved well before the atmosphere became permanently oxygenated seems well supported.
    http://rstb.royalsocietypublis...../2731.long

    U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of +3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis (2003)
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004E&PSL.217..237R

    The Sudden Appearance Of Photosynthetic Life On Earth – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4262918

    When Did Life First Appear on Earth? – Fazale Rana – December 2010
    Excerpt: The primary evidence for 3.8 billion-year-old life consists of carbonaceous deposits, such as graphite, found in rock formations in western Greenland. These deposits display an enrichment of the carbon-12 isotope. Other chemical signatures from these formations that have been interpreted as biological remnants include uranium/thorium fractionation and banded iron formations. Recently, a team from Australia argued that the dolomite in these formations also reflects biological activity, specifically that of sulfate-reducing bacteria.
    http://www.reasons.org/when-di.....pear-earth

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, oxygen was present at a much higher level on the early earth than was postulated by materialists:

    Iron in Primeval Seas Rusted by Bacteria – Apr. 23, 2013
    Excerpt: The oldest known iron ores were deposited in the Precambrian period and are up to four billion years old (the Earth itself is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old). ,,,
    This research not only provides the first clear evidence that microorganisms were directly involved in the deposition of Earth’s oldest iron formations; it also indicates that large populations of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria were at work in the shallow areas of the ancient oceans, while deeper water still reached by the light (the photic zone) tended to be populated by anoxyenic or micro-aerophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria which formed the iron deposits.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....110750.htm

    Time to end speculation about a reducing atmosphere for the early Earth – David Tyler – December 2011
    Excerpt: Using zircons dated to almost 4.4 Ga, the researchers have analysed their redox state (a measure of the degree of oxygenation of the mineral).,,, “[In] this issue, Trail et al. report their analysis of the sole mineral survivors of the Hadean, zircon samples more than 4 billion years old. Their findings allowed them to determine the ‘fugacity’ of oxygen in Hadean magmatic melts, a quantity that acts as a measure of magmatic redox conditions. Unexpectedly, the zircons record oxygen fugacities identical to those in the present-day mantle, leading the authors to conclude that Hadean volcanic gases were as highly oxidized as those emitted today.”
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....a_reducing

    High levels of oxygen on the early earth present another insurmountable problem for any Naturalistic/Materialistic origins of life scenario:

    Oxygen, the Scourge of Evolution – Oct. 10, 2013
    Excerpt: The scourge of evolution has re-emerged?this time with renewed vengeance. Scientists have long known that extremely low levels of free-oxygen [less than 10^-5] atmosphere on early Earth is critical for any viable origin of life model of evolution.,,,
    (New) Scientific Evidence for Early Earth Free-Oxygen Theory
    An international research team led by Sean Crowe (of) University of Southern Denmark in September (2013) published in the journal Nature a paper re-establishing the presence of atmospheric oxygen on early Earth. The team representing the nations of Denmark, South Africa, and Germany discovered oxygen to exceed 30-times beyond the critical concentration of less than 10^-5.
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....olution-4/

    Also of related note, the theory of moon formation from a giant impact, which they also had represented on their graph, has now been brought into question:

    How the Moon Supports the Privileged Planet Hypothesis – December 5, 2013
    Excerpt: Planetary scientists were optimistic that the Apollo missions would help decide among three leading hypotheses: capture, fission, and accretion. After Apollo, all three were rejected, leaving theorists without a theory until the “giant impact” hypothesis came along in the 1980s. Till recently, the scenario of a Mars-sized object striking the Earth at a glancing blow was hailed as accepted truth. TV documentaries animated the event handsomely, in vivid color. However, new observations have cast doubt on the (impact) idea.
    For one thing, the size and speed of the impactor had to be finely tuned. Too large or too fast would not leave sufficient material behind to re-form into the Earth and Moon. Worse, though, are findings that elements are too similar in the two bodies. Isotopic ratios of oxygen, titanium, silicon, chromium, tungsten and other elements — both volatile and refractory — are nearly identical to Earth in the lunar samples, contrary to what all the impact models predict,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79861.html

    Also of note to the ‘fine tuning’ of the moon, Hugh Ross speaks of 20 ‘design features’ for the moon at the 6:25 minute mark of the following video:

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347236

    Specifics can be picked up in this paper:

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters ? 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    “The one place that has observers is the one place that also has perfect solar eclipses.”
    – Guillermo Gonzalez – Astronomer

    Also of interest is this cool animation my cousin found yesterday:

    “A visualization of an asteroid’s path of orbit which nearly collided with the Earth and Moon in 2003” (Note how the moon eventually ‘slingshots’ the asteroid out of orbit from around the earth thus preventing eventual disaster)
    http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/j002e3/j002e3d.gif

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:3-4
    Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    Nickelback – If Today Was Your Last Day [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrXIQQ8PeRs

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    When did those zircons form? The point being is a 4.5X billion year old earth requires that the earth be completely molten to the point none of the original crystals, from the material that made earth, survived. And that is an untestable assumption.

    Radioactive elements can begin decaying as soon as they are made. And they are made from supernaovae and collisions between neutron stars.

  4. 4
    JGuy says:

    Which supernova then did our stuff supposedly come from? And how long until no atoms of uranium remain if the entire solar system’s mass were uranium produced from such a event?
    I don’t know..just throwing that out there. Would be interesting to know the theoretical proportions of uranium to other elements produced from such an event.

  5. 5
    tjguy says:

    What do IDers think about the RATE experiments that showed the earth to be about 6000 years old?

    Just curious.

    http://www.icr.org/rate/

    There are a number of links to articles on this research project.

    Here is a legitimate creationist research project that does not support the Big Bang age of the universe.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    There is a fairly new Teaching Company course on the formation of the solar system by Robert Hazen. Hazen is a mineralogist and has introduced a concept called mineral evolution that he and others have developed. There was in stellar dust before the formation of the solar system certain elements from previous super nova and then when the solar system formed new minerals were created as the various events/forces that formed the solar system played out.

    http://www.thegreatcourses.com.....x?cid=1740

    I am only about a dozen lectures into this and we are now up to 60 minerals after starting with about 8-10. There are about 4,000 known minerals now and most of them were formed after the earth was formed. Some of the minerals are the result of biological activity. I am sure it will get to the origin of life as Hazen is big on the clay theory.

    There was also a section on the John Batchelor show last week about the oldest stars in the universe. One is apparently not too far away (relatively.) They apparently have almost no iron. If you are interested you can listen to the podcast on his site:

    http://www.johnbatchelorshow.c.....2014/02/21

    http://www.johnbatchelorshow.c.....first-hour (this podcast is has 4 segments and the third is about the old stars which are still around. The first two segments are about politics and the segment on the star is about 18 minutes in to the podcast.)

    Here are some articles on it

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02.....&_r=0

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....08772.html

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    tjguy- Before I read what is in that ICR link-> I remember this project/ projects. I also remember that it didn’t show a 6,000 year old but it did refute a 4.5X billion year old earth.

    OK now to that link…

Leave a Reply