The First Continents of Earth Appeared Much Earlier Than Scientists Initially Thought

The First Continents of Earth Appeared Much Earlier Than Scientists Initially Thought
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Our Earth wasn’t always the beautiful and diversified mixture of water and land we all see today. Billions of years ago, our planet was a total wasteland, and it was also having scorching temperatures at its surface.

It’s obvious that a lot of time is needed for evolution to do its thing and transform such a hot wasteland in the beloved planet we have today. A new study that LiveScience.com tells us about now reveals that it took less time for the first continents to arise on Earth than scientists previously thought.

Cratons emerged between 3.3 billion and 3.2 billion years ago

Researchers involved in the new study are placing their bet on the period between 3.3 billion and 3.2 billion years ago when it comes to the first emergence of continents as they rose from the oceans. Previous studies were pointing at about 2.5 billion years ago as the time when the first continents appeared.

Sedimentary rocks were studied, and it was concluded that they formed from bits of other rocks that had been through erosion and weathering from roughly 3.4 billion years ago. This serves as an argument for Ilya Bindeman’s statement, who is a professor of geology from the University of Oregon:

There was no uncertainty that continents were partly sticking out of water as early as 3.4 billion years ago.

In order to gather data for the new study, the scientists went to the Singhbum Craton from eastern India, where they’ve tried to figure out the exact ages and nature of pieces of ancient sedimentary rocks.

Priyadarshi Chowdhury, who is a postdoctoral research fellow from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in Melbourne (Australia), declared for LiveScience.com:

When we joined all the sedimentary pockets together, we found that all of them kind of formed simultaneously,

That was like the point when we realized, okay, we are onto something.

The new study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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