Ancient crystals hold clues to why the Earth’s crust shattered like a crème brûlée 3.8 billion years ago

Small crystals unearthed in South Africa contain evidence of a sudden transition on the planet’s surface 3.8 billion years ago.

These crystals, each the size of a grain of sand, show that at that time, EarthThe crust broke apart and began to move – a precursor to the process known as plate tectonics.

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