adminwp May 1, 2008
fukangrock.jpg

This photo and accompanying story appeared in the tabloid press today.


The bye-line ran …

"It’s the oldest rock in the Solar System at more than 438 million years and could be yours for $2.7 million. 

The Fukang meteor, found in China in 2000, is being sold by Marvin Kilgore at Bonham’s auctioneers, New York".

The only problem is that 438 million years is quite young, even for terrestrial rocks where the dynamic Earth, under the pressure of plate techtonics, regulary re-cycles practically all the rocks on our surface. 

The figure is out by a factor of ten.

Rare meteors, dating from the birth of the Solar System ( ~ 4.6 billion years ago) have been discovered in wilderness areas of Australia and Asia, as well as Antarctica. 

There is no particular reason to believe this Fukang Rock is the oldest ever found.  The story depends more on its amusing, word-pun value than on its scientific interest.

But that’s our point. 

Newspaper editors are much more interested in an anecdote’s entertainment value than in imparting real scientific information!

It’s a Fukang shame! 

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