text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
News
design element
News
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
Search Multimedia
Image
Video
Audio
More
Multimedia in the News
NSF Executive Staff
News Archive
 

Email this pagePrint this page
Imagine That! -- "New Thermometer Tells All"


Imagine That!
Audio Play Audio

Imagine That! -- "New Thermometer Tells All"

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

Ever heard of zircon? It's the basis for a new thermometer that tells us what the earth's temp was...over four billion years ago!!

Imagine That!

Sounds like a bizarre backwards discovery, doesn't it? Turns out, it's bringing up some surprising results.

Watson: "What's really exciting about the results that we've produced is that they are painting a picture that's quite different from this very violent, very hot molten outer earth situation that the pre-existing models were portraying."

That's researcher Bruce Watson, professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He's studying zircons, tiny crystals--some almost as old as the planet itself-four hundred million years older than the oldest known rocks on earth. So, what could this ancient gemstone possibly tell us? Well, with this new thermometer based on the titanium content of zircons, scientists have found evidence that environmental conditions on early earth were characterized by liquid-water oceans and continental crust similar to today's.

Less than a quarter of a millimeter in size, and embedded in rocks of all ages--including meteorites--these crystals give scientists rock hard evidence they never had before.

Who knows what other fascinating discoveries researchers might make from a simple little birthstone? I'm Eric Phillips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at nsf.gov.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

RealPlayer icon
This Audio requires the free RealPlayer plug-in.

 



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page