The sand you may find through your car after you visit the beach could have seen life on Earth evolve

"Detail of a 4.4 billion-year-old zircon crystal from the Jack Hills region of Australia. The crystal, now confirmed to be the oldest bit of the Earth's crust is providing new insight into how the early Earth cooled from a ball of magma and formed continents just 160 million years after the formation of our solar system" - source: Canberra Times

“Detail of a 4.4 billion-year-old zircon crystal from the Jack Hills region of Australia. The crystal, now confirmed to be the oldest bit of the Earth’s crust is providing new insight into how the early Earth cooled from a ball of magma and formed continents just 160 million years after the formation of our solar system” – source: Canberra Times

Somehow sand is always on my mind. Whether it be because I always have sand in my shoes, or that piles of sand seem to mark my presence (I am serious, my boyfriend questioned the pile of sand next the bed today!), it’s all for a good reason.

’cause did you know?

Every time you walk along the beach millions of grains of sand move beneath your feet. At a glance it’s just sand, but when viewed through a microscope, you can see that the grains are actually colourful fragments of gem, coral, minerals and shells.

That’s because sand is the remnants of weathered rock and shelled creatures, broken down by waves and wind over hundreds of millions of years.

Each individual grain has its own, amazing geographic and biological history. For instance, scientists have discovered that a grain of sand found in the Jack Hills in Western Australia is actually a tiny crystal of zircon and is 4.4 billion years old (go to page 30 of the link). To put that in perspective, it’s thought that the Earth itself is about 4.5 billion years old.

So who knows — the sand you may find through your car after you visit the beach could have seen life on Earth evolve.

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