India Basins Half a Billion Years Older Than Thought, supports “snowball Earth” hypothesis

By | July 12, 2008

India’s Vindhyan Basins have hidden their age well—by as much as 500 million years, according to controversial new research. The basins, which stretch across a 39,000-square-mile (100,000-square-kilometer) swath of central India, were initially believed to have formed about 500 to 700 million years ago after Earth’s crust stretched, thinned, and then faulted.

Six of the basins studied, however, show evidence that they were created a billion years ago, said study lead author Joseph Meert, a geology professor at the University of Florida.

The drastic age revision offers new evidence for the “snowball Earth” hypothesis, which says that Earth’s surface was completely covered with snow and ice about 700 million years ago, according to the scientists.

It may also lend some support to claims that multicellular organisms found in the region date to 1.6 billion years ago, several hundred million years before most scientists believe such creatures developed.

The study appears in a recent issue of the journal Precambrian Research. – continues on natgeo

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