A 4-billion-year-old piece of the Earth’s crust was found beneath Australia

A 4-billion-year-old chunk of the Earth’s crust the size of Ireland is hiding beneath Western Australia, new research has found.

This piece of crust is the oldest on Earth, though not the oldest. That respect goes Rocks of the Canadian Shield on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay, which is 4.3 billion years old. (Earth is 4.54 billion years old.) Because Earth’s crust is churned by plate tectonics and pushed back into the mantle, most of the planet’s rocky surface was formed within the last two billion years.

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