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Scientists have found traces of the first rain on Earth

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Researchers have discovered zircon crystals in rocks of Western Australia. They say that about 4 billion years ago it rained on Earth.

New research shows that rain first fell on Earth about 4 billion years ago, which is 500 million years earlier than previously thought. This was reported by Science Alert.

A team of researchers from Australia and China used oxygen isotopes found in ancient minerals to determine when the first rainfall occurred on the planet.

The oldest preserved crustal material is preserved at Jack Hills, Australia. Over the course of 4.4 billion years, these primordial minerals underwent only minor changes under the influence of heat and pressure. Although it’s now a dry, red and stark landscape, researchers have found traces of Earth’s oldest rainfall in zircon crystals.

The study’s lead author, geologist Hamed Gamaleldin from Curtin University, explains that the unusual light isotopic signatures found in the zircon crystals date back 4 billion years, changing to our understanding of the early history of planetary hydrology.

The researchers used secondary ion mass spectrometry to study the microscopic zircon crystals. This allowed them to determine the oxygen isotopic composition of the magma from which these grains were formed. The results showed that the samples have a very light oxygen isotopic composition, which is only possible if the crystals were exposed to fresh water, specifically meteorite water.

Such light oxygen isotopes usually result from the action of hot fresh water on rocks several kilometers below the Earth’s surface. “The evidence for the existence of fresh water very deep inside the Earth challenges the prevailing theory that four billion years ago the Earth was completely covered by ocean,” Gamaleldien said.

The results indicate that landforms and fresh water may have formed earlier than thought, and this may have created favorable conditions for the origin of life.

It was previously reported that the smallest known monkey, which lived 11 million years ago, was found in Germany.

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Source: korrespondent

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