back to article Was Earth once covered in HELLFIRE? No – more like a wet Sunday night in Iceland

Early Earth may have been less like the hellish realm of molten magma previously suspected but also distinct from the sort of environment found in modern-day Iceland, according to research by geologists. The Earth had already formed oceans, continents and an active crustal plates by the time it was 500 million years old, …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge


    This has some interesting implications for the chances of life on other planets - if this holds up (and it sounds as if it will) then the probability of life of one form or another elsewhere in the universe - even locally, cosmically speaking, is 100%.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Goldilocks

      Three down votes so far - I guess no intelligent life on this planet either ... no big deal, we're going ahead with the hyperspace bypass in that case.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Goldilocks

      "if this holds up (and it sounds as if it will) the probability of life of one form or another elsewhere in the universe - even locally, cosmically speaking, is 100%."

      Before you lock the planning consultation for the bypass in the file cabinet marked 'beware of the bugblatter beast' , would you be so good as to perhaps explain your reasoning for this rather entertaining appeal to possibility?

    3. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Goldilocks

      Given the sheer amount of planets with origins similar to ours in the entire universe, and considering current theories on how life came to be, you're probably right. Getting to the point where we are takes quite a few other hurdles that are less well-determined.

      Mind.. this is a pretty important find, since it extends the buildup time of "natural organics" needed to actually make up "life" by quite a margin. It certainly debunks the "not enough time" apologists in the whole, ancient discussion.

  2. Alister Silver badge

    Would I be correct in thinking that Hadean means Hell-Like (as in Hades)?

    Just curious, never heard of it before.

    1. Martin Budden

      Yes that is where the name comes from.

  3. Chris Gray 1

    Early civilizations!

    OK, so the place could have been off and on habitable for 4 billion years. That's lots of time for civilizations to rise and fall. Maybe the galaxy is full of earth-origin "aliens"!

    (Yes, I know, current belief is that there were lots of asteroid hits for a long time, etc. etc. but we need to come up with some good bases for science fiction stories here.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Early civilizations!

      A cute notion! Then von Däniken has it exactly arse-about-face: the pyramids were built with anti-grav tech (just rather before the 'ancient' Egyptians were around), but it was home-brewed and once well debugged they packed it in the picnic hamper and set off to see what the neighbours have done with their solar system.

      So why haven't we seen them yet? Just like any adolescents leaving the nest they're mortified that their cool new (bug-eyed) friends will clock just who their old folks are and blow their cool. So the danger of that Bebo Gliese 581C transmission wasn't that the BEMs would come and sterilise the Earth as a way of raising the average galactic IQ, it was that the old civilisations would come slouching back home, slamming doors, whining that we don't understand them, etc.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: Early civilizations and dinosaurs

        We are told these days that at least some of the dinosaurs were smarter than the average lizard. So I have wondered whether they ever got as far a stone age, or even putting up buildings.

        But there is no fossilised reinforced concrete in mesozoic rocks, nor even pottery fragments. So probably they didn't.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Early civilizations and dinosaurs

          According to Doctor Who, they had spaceships!

    2. goodjudge

      Re: Early civilizations!

      Of course. When else do you think the Cthulu era occurred?

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Slap me if I'm wrong...

    So then for the astro types to say a planet say 4 million light years away is too hot and thus no life, could be wrong? The planet might have cooled and life might be there?

    1. DJV Silver badge


      million -> billion

      Otherwise, good point!

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Slap

        Thanks. I needed that.

  5. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Luna Impact Theory

    If the theory that the moon was formed by a collision between the earth and a mars sized body is correct then there would have been a time during which the surface of the earth was covered in magma.

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    4 billion year old zircons?

    But every fool knows the Earth (and the Universe) is only 6000 years old ;-)

    Those who are not fools, on the other hand....

    Good stuff this science thingy and I too had never heard of the Hadean era.

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: 4 billion year old zircons?

      Fool! They were planted there to test you.

      Now Hell (or Hades, in this case) awaits you along with the Fake Christians, Abortionists, Jesus Mockers, Rebellious Women, Muslims, Disobedient Children, Masturbators, Sport Nuts, The Prideful, Hypocrites, Buddhists, Good People, thieves, Inventors of evil, Homosexuals, Party Animals, Idolators, Adulterers, Liars, Anarchists, Catholics, Murderers, Atheists, Pornofreaks, Liberals, Satanists, Cowards, False Teachers, Hindus and Money Lovers.

      The gun nuts are missing, but I suspect that the committee who drew up the contents of this wonderful poster reckoned that they would be covered by 'The Prideful'

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Tamara Carley, who has just accepted the position of assistant professor at Layfayette"

    Well, I got it.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Have an idea --> gather evidence -->analyse evidence --> form conclusion

    Proper science.

    thumbs up for field work, analysis and caution on the meaning of the results.

  9. Stevie Silver badge


    These bloody "scientists" should bloody well make up their minds about stuff!

    I've got an idea: Instead of rushing out to re-edit and reprint all the school textbooks why not simply thaw out one of those frozen-in-a-glacier cavemen and ask him what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the world?

  10. Skymonrie

    When you throw shit at the wall

    It sticks :p

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