About 35 kilometers south of Inukjuak, an Inuit village in the far North of Quebec, lies an unusual rocky outcrop. Known as the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt, it's mostly made up of grey-green rock, laced with veins of red. If you took the arduous trip there, and weren't a geologist, you might not realize what you were standing on. These rocks are thought to have formed billions of years ago under a prehistoric ocean, near ancient hydrothermal vents. And now they've yielded signs of extraordinarily ancient life, rewriting our planet's history.
In a new paper in Nature, an international team of researchers say these rocks are between 3.8 and 4.3 billion years old—the oldest rocks ever found on the planet. But that's not all. Their bizarre structures are signs of the presence of ancient microorganisms, making them the oldest "microfossils" ever found, and the oldest record of life on Earth.
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