Weathering — wind and water, freezing and thawing — takes its toll, and longer-term changes caused by volcanic activity and sliding crustal plates, known as tectonic activity, fold today’s ground into tomorrow’s interior.
The constant makeover of the planet is typically fastest in the mountains, slower in the tectonically inactive deserts.
But a new study of ancient “desert pavement” in Israel’s Negev Desert finds a vast region that’s been sitting there exposed, pretty much as-is, for about 1.8 million years, according to Ari Matmon and colleagues at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
It is the oldest known vast expanse of surface area. In fact it is more than four times older than the confirmed next oldest desert pavement, in Nevada, according to an article at the web site of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The scientific report is in the current issue of GSA Bulletin. The FoxNews article does not give any indication of where in the desert this “pavement” is located, but it does include a couple of photographs.