HomeAstronomy4 billion-year-old chunk of Earth's crust found below Australia

4 billion-year-old chunk of Earth’s crust found below Australia

A 4-billion-year-old piece of Earth’s crust the size of Ireland is lurking beneath Western Australia, new research finds. 

This piece of crust is among the oldest on Earth, though not the oldest. That honor goes to rocks of the Canadian Shield (opens in new tab) on the eastern shore of the Hudson Bay, which have been dated to 4.3 billion years old. (The Earth is 4.54 billion years old.) Because Earth’s crust is constantly being churned up and pushed back into the mantle by plate tectonics, most of the planet’s rocky surface was formed within the last couple billion years. 

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