3.7 Billion Years Old fossils discovered on Earth in Greenland rocks

Sep 3, 2016 11:10 IST

A team of scientists have discovered the world’s oldest stromatolite fossils about 3.7 billion years old in the world’s oldest sedimentary rocks in the Isua Greenstone Belt along the edge of Greenland’s icecap. The findings were published in journal Nature on 31 August 2016.

September CA eBook

Led by the Australian University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Professor Allen Nutman, the team's discovery pushes back the previous record by 220 million years and captures the earliest history of the planet.

The discovery of the Isua stromatolite fossils provides a greater understanding of early diversity of life on Earth which could have implications for the understanding of life on Mars.

The Study
• A team of Australian geologists made the discovery in July 2012 while carrying out field research in Isua, a remote place in Greenland.
• One day while working at the field, they came across some outcroppings never seen before.
• Upon further assessment, the researchers were able to know they were conical structures, one to four centimeters high.
• The outcroppings looked like microbial mats known as stromatolites. The researchers carried out laboratory analysis and found its formations to be 3.7 billion years old.
• Using radiometric dating, the scientists were able to find out the age of the rocks.

Stromatolites

• The fossils are called stromatolites, which are layers of ancient microorganisms that grew in shallow water.
• Stromatolites are built layer-by-layer by a mat of photosynthesising bacteria in shallow water.
• Over time, they create structures of varying size and shape, from tall domed towers to small, pointed cones.
• Oddly enough, stromatolites are older than the world’s oldest rocks, since scientists think that the rocks they co-existed with have been crushed and destroyed by plate tectonic and erosion.

Now get latest Current Affairs on mobile, Download # 1  Current Affairs App

Is this article important for exams ? Yes

DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

Latest Videos

Register to get FREE updates

    All Fields Mandatory
  • (Ex:9123456789)
  • Please Select Your Interest
  • Please specify

  • ajax-loader
  • A verifcation code has been sent to
    your mobile number

    Please enter the verification code below

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK