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What could be the oldest stone on earth was found on the moon 48 years ago



An arrow points to the tiny fragment of moonstone 14321, which researchers believe originated more than 4 billion years ago on Earth.

(NASA / LPI)

  • Scientists say that a tiny piece of lunar rock was probably created on Earth.
  • The fragment is 4 to 4.1
    billion years old, they say.
  • That would make it the oldest rock on earth ever found.

Earth's oldest rock was found almost 50 years ago, but it was not found on this planet.

It was under 95 pounds of lunar rock collected by Apollo 14 astronauts in February 1971.

An international team of scientists found a tiny fragment weighing less than an ounce of quartz, feldspar, and zircon in one of them lunar rocks according to a press release on the discovery. These minerals are common on Earth but are highly unusual on the Moon.

The fragment's chemical analysis showed that it crystallized in an environment that could be found on ancient earth but not on the moon, said the team led by Jeremy Bellucci and Alexander Nemchin at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Curtin University was conducted in Australia.

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the bombing that changed our planet at dawn, "said David A. Kring Co-author of the study and senior scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas.

The team's report published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, said the rock fragment crystallized about 12 miles below the surface before 4 to 4.1 billion years ago, a powerful impact, possibly from an asteroid striking the planet, pushed the stone into space and eventually landed on the moon.

A collision on the moon 3.9 billion years ago melted the fragment , mixed it with lunar material and most likely buried it again.

Alan Shepard, commander of Apollo 14, stands next to the Modular Equipment Transporter (MET), e in a trolley for carrying tools, cameras and sample cases on the lunar surface.

(NASA)

About 26 million years ago, the team said, another asteroid impact created the cone crater and hurled the rock back to the surface of the moon] gathered the rock, named it 14321, and brought it to Earth back.

The team admitted that the fragment could have formed deep below the Moon's surface, but it is much more likely to have formed on Earth. And that would make it one of the oldest rocks on earth ever found.

National Geographic writes that Earth's oldest minerals, are up to 4.4 billion years old, to be found in Jack Hills in Australia. But they really are what's left of rocks that crumbled centuries ago.

The Apollo 14 fragment "is technically a" rock ", whereas the Jack Hills [minerals] are individual, contextless crystals," Bellucci said in an email to the magazine.


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