Earth’s Oldest Fossils Discovered in Greenland’s 3.7 Billion-Year-Old Rock

Admin | Published 2016-09-01 02:35
The oldest evidence in life on Earth has just been discovered in 3.7 Billion-Year-Old Rocks in the Isua Greenstone Belt, Greenland. According to Lead Researcher Allen Nutman from School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wollongong in Australia, tiny ripples were discovered frozen in a cross section of an outcrop of a rock’s surface. Geologists regard this formation as Earth’s oldest rocks. Researchers said that those tiny ripples mentioned are the fossilized remains of cone-shaped stromatolites or “layered mounds of sediment and carbonates that build up around colonies of microbes that grow on the floor of shallow seas or lakes.” The fossils discovered are 220 million years older than those previously discovered. The new discovery which was detailed in the Journal Nature, supports theories that life here on Earth originated 4 Billion Years ago which was called the Hadean Eon. This era marked excessive volcanic activity when icy comets and huge meteorites strike the earth frequently. The rock outcrop was only discovered after southwestern Greenland’s warm summers which caused large patches of snow to melt. This then resulted to reveal the rocks which were not clearly inspected since the very first exploration in Isua Greenstone Belt in the 1980s. Nutman said, "Most of the rocks there are very deformed and modified by later mountain-building processes, but you do find just very tiny little areas that have survived with their original volcanic or sedimentary structures not destroyed. But this is the first one of the surviving structures where we actually have stromatolites." Clark Friend, co-author of the research said, “Up until now the oldest stromatolites have been from Western Australia and they are roughly 3,500 million (3.5bn) years [old]. What we are doing is pushing the discovery of life earlier in Earth’s history.” Friend added that this discovery will raise more questions about the chances of having life on other planets.
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