"Zircons are Forever"

Zircons have been in the news lately because of the recent discovery that the chemical signature of the oldest known zircon crystal (4.4 billion years) suggests that water, and thus conditions for life on Earth, was present then. Geologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison contributed to a large part of this study. Zircons are Forever is a newly posted feature page on the UW Geology and Geophysics Website. The text describes the basic chemistry of zircon and why it is an important mineral for studies of mantle formation. Particular emphasis is on stable isotope geochemistry. A hyperlinked bibliography leads to abstracts and plots of oxygen isotope values from papers by UW faculty and graduate students. Zircons are Forever adds a little more background to the recent headlines.

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