From: Robert Roy Britt, Live Science
Published May 6, 2009 10:02 AM

Oldest Surface on Earth Discovered

A new study of ancient "desert pavement" in Israel's Negev Desert finds a vast region that's been sitting there exposed, pretty much as-is, for about 1.8 million years, according to Ari Matmon and colleagues at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

It is the oldest known vast expanse of surface area. In fact it is more than four times older than the confirmed next oldest desert pavement, in Nevada, according to an article at the web site of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The newly dated desert pavement does not represent the oldest material on Earth, however. A lot of individual rocks have been found that are much older.

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But Matmon's team dated the entire surface as a "geomorphic feature," he told LiveScience. "Since the initial formation of desert pavement (the material we dated) is ... related to the age of the surface, we dated the surface itself," he said. "We did not choose the outstanding anomalous rocks on the surface."

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