Oldest patch of ground on earth discovered in Israel

May 6th, 2009 - 1:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 6 (ANI): Scientists have discovered the oldest patch of ground on Earth in Israel’s Negev desert, which remains virtually the same as it was 1.8 million years ago.

According to a report in Live Science, the patch of ground is an expanse of “desert pavement” in Israel’s Negev Desert, and is claimed by scientists as the oldest continuous surface on earth.

Most of the earth’s surface is constantly, if not always rapidly, evolving - through erosion, volcanic activity, the movement of tectonic plates underneath the earth’s surface, and just plain old weather.

But, an unusual feature of deserts, which have little tectonic activity and terrain that’s resistant to their hot, dry weather, is that large surfaces of ground can remain virtually the same for millions of years.

“This is something we were not sure about until now,” said Ari Matmon, who headed up the study.

Matmon’s team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem confirmed the age of the terrain by measuring concentrations of an isotope found only on the earth’s surface.

It also indicates how long the surface has been exposed to the elements.

The patch of terrain is four times older that the next oldest areas of desert, in Nevada, LiveScience.com reported, though there are individual rocks much older than any patch of ground. (ANI)

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