We may have lived there for millions of years, but the earth is still full of mysteries and surprises for humans. Take the age of the earth’s crust, for example: well, scientists had always thought that it was around 3 billion years old. Well, it would actually be older if we believed the results of new research.
How many billion years exactly?
We all know that the earth’s crust is really very old, but researchers never thought that it would actually be almost 4 billion years old … This was revealed by a team of scientists during a virtual conference on April 26th as part of a virtual conference of the General Assembly of the European Geoscientific Union (EGU) 2021.
Researchers have succeeded in developing a new method for dating ancient parts of the earth’s crust. This enabled them to determine that the latter would actually be 3.7 billion years, rather than three years, as suggested by previous estimates.
How to calculate the age of the earth’s crust …
You may not know, but as we age, the earth’s crust drains nutrients into the ocean. Well, by studying these famous nutrients, more precisely by calculating their age, researchers have succeeded in verifying that of the earth’s crust.
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Solcan Design
They were particularly interested in barite minerals, which form in the ocean floor and release nutrients, including strontium, into the water. By measuring the ratio of two isotopes of strontium, the researchers found that the age of the minerals was actually between 3.2 and 3.5 billion years. They also managed to determine that the ancient continents had been pouring strontium into the ocean for at least 3.7 billion years.
What exactly does that mean?
So the earth’s crust is almost 4 billion years old, so what? Some might ask the question: well, that would change a lot of things, if you believe Desiree Roerdink, geochemist at the University of Bergen (Norway).
The latter spoke in a statement of a “big” leap in time. “It has an impact on how we think about how life has turned out,” she said enthusiastically. Indeed, it should be known that some of the nutrients that the earth’s crust pours into the ocean contribute to the development of life in the seas. Desiree Roerdink and her colleagues are eager to continue their research to learn more about any changes this discovery will bring.