Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

2015 Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen W. Thompson

Acasta Gneiss Complex

  • Samuel BowringEmail author
  • Tom Chacko
  • Larry M. Heaman
  • Jesse Reimink
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6304-3_91


Acasta gneisses


The Acasta gneiss complex in northwestern Canada contains some of the oldest dated rocks on earth and the oldest dated using U-Pb in zircon. They therefore potentially preserve clues to the nature and history of earth’s oldest crust. The geology of the gneisses reflects a complex multistage history of magmatism, metamorphism, and deformation over more than 400 million years, and the entire complex should be viewed as a small fragment of Hadean to Archean continental crust. The gneisses are compositionally diverse and range from granite and tonalite to gabbro and serpentinized ultramafic rocks. The oldest published crystallization age is 4.031 +/− 0.003 Ga. There are isotopic and inherited zircon data consistent with the involvement of crust as old as 4.2 Ga. There is no single age of the Acasta gneiss complex (Bowring and Williams, 1999).


Components of the Acasta gneiss complex are among the oldest known rocks on earth. They are exposed...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Bowring
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tom Chacko
    • 2
  • Larry M. Heaman
    • 2
  • Jesse Reimink
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada