Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

pp 875-878

Jack Hills (Yilgarn, Western Australia)

  • Simon A. WildeAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Geology, Curtin University of Technology Email author 


Continental crust, Hadean, Neoarchean, oceans, Western Australia, zircon


Jack Hills is the name of a low range of hills located in the Murchison District of Western Australia, approximately 800 km north of Perth. Since 1986, the area has been internationally known as the site of the world’s oldest minerals. These are detrital zircon grains up to 4,404 Ma old.


A zircon grain with a portion recording an age of 4,404 ± 8 Ma (2σ) was extracted from a conglomerate on Eranondoo Hill in the central Jack Hills. Published in 2001 (Wilde et al. 2001), this age was ∼130 Ma older than the previous oldest known crystal on Earth, also reported from the same site in 1986 (Compston and Pidgeon 1986). Prior to that, the oldest known zircon crystals (∼4,150 Ma) were obtained from Mt Narryer, located ∼60 km southwest of Jack Hills (Froude et al. 1983).

Both Jack Hills and Mt Narryer are located in the Narryer Terrane, which occupies an area of ∼30,000 km2 ...

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