“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland)

Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin

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24 February 2014

WORLD'S OLDEST ROCK? TRY BROOME


The oldest soils on Earth?
They're not in your vineyard
So stop making silly claims
by PHILIP WHITE

Australian winemakers who naïvely boast that their vines are growing in the oldest soils on Earth should consider moving their vineyards to Jack Hills, on Christmas Creek, about 400 kilometres east of Broome in the far north-west of Western Australia, and down a bit.

They could then lay claim to their dirt perhaps containing a few minute specks of the oldest rock yet found on the planet.

A team led by Professor John Valley, of the University of Wisconsin, has shown that a speck of zircon found there is 4.374 billion years old, making it the oldest rock yet found on Earth. 

Valley found the tiny crystal (top) in 2001. A comprehensive and reliable study has finally shown the scepticism of other geologists to be well-placed but ill-founded.

"This is the oldest known part of the Earth's crust that has yet been identified," he told ABC reporter, Simon Lauder

Valley's team eventually used atom-probe tomography to identify individual atoms of lead in the crystal, leading to confirmation of its age. Not much larger than the diameter of a human hair, the crystal is so small that the Professor says that only a person with particularly good eyesight could spot it in the palm of their hand.

His discovery indicates that the Earth's crust formed earlier than had been previously believed. This planet formed as a ball of molten rock about 4.5 billion years ago. The zircon indicates its crust formed soon after that - 100 million years; only about 160 million years after the formation of the solar system.

The rocks of the Mount Lofty Ranges, home of the South Flinders, Clare, Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Southern Fleurieu vignobles, are never much older than 1.6 billion years. Granules of these form their soils, most of which are younger than 10,000 years.

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2 comments:

JC said...

By God it's beautiful. Proof of very early Christianity. It's a window from the very small Christian church of the day, surely?

AWE said...

What a beautiful thing! It really does look a church window!