The oldest rocks and minerals on Earth main content.

The oldest rocks and minerals on Earth

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

The Oldest Rocks and Minerals on Earth_HERO

Exhibition Text

Much of the evidence from the oldest period of the Earth’s history, the Hadean era (3.8 to 4.5 billion years ago), has been destroyed by erosion, burial, and modifications of the rocks as they were heated and compressed at depth. Yet clues can be found in the durable mineral zircon. Zircon usually contains a small amount of the radioactive element uranium, and its age can be determined by measuring how much of the uranium has transformed to lead.

For Educators

Topic: Earth Science

Subtopic: Minerals and Resources

Keywords: Geology, Earth (Planet)--History, Rocks, Minerals, Earth (Planet)--Origin, Zircon

Audience: General