Ion microprobe U-Pb analyses of zircons have identified the Acasta gneisses, from the westernmost Slave province, Canada, as the oldest known intact terrestrial rocks. Zircons from two samples indicate that the tonalitic to granitic protoliths of the gneisses crystallized at 3962 ±3 Ma, confirming earlier indications, from conventional zircon and Nd analyses, of the rock's antiquity. The U-Pb analyses indicate that in addition to recent Pb loss, the zircons underwent an early episode of Pb loss and that new zircons crystallized ca. 3.6 Ga. The gneisses were derived from a source that had a long-lived enrichment in light REE, possibly from even older rocks that may be present in the Slave province.

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