Rocks that comprise the continents can be as old as 4 billion years – yet the oldest ocean crust is less than 200 million years old. The Age of the Earth’s Crust: Why the Continents are Older than the Oceans

Age of the Earth’s Crust: Why the Continents have a longer lifespan than the Oceans
Earth is an ancient planet. Its age has been estimated at 4.5 billion year. However, rocks which make up the continents and the seafloor are far more ancient than their counterparts. The age range of the continental rocks can vary from 2 to 4 Billion years ago, while the oceanic crust is typically less than 200 M years. This is due to a phenomenon known as “plate tectonics” (Gill, 2016). Plate tectonics is the movement of the Earth’s lithosphere in large, rigid plates. Through this process, the Earth’s crust is continually recycled. A subduction zone is formed when two plates collide. This allows one plate to be pushed under the other. The subducting plate’s material (often oceanic crutch) melts, forming magma. This then rises, crystallizes, and forms new oceanic ridges. (Gill (2016) It is this process that explains why oceanic crust has a history of less than 200 million year. Subduction and the renewal of the ocean’s floor takes place much faster than continental crust formation…
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