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Eriksson's Dune Earth's Oldest Tidal Deposit

Brand : Jensan Scientifics LLC

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1.00 LBS
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Eriksson’s Dune: Earth’s Oldest Lithified Tidal Deposit (3.2 Ga)

Eriksson’s Dune, located in the Barberton Mountains of South Africa, holds the distinction of being Earth’s oldest lithified tidal deposit. Named after K.A. Eriksson, a South African geologist who first documented its discovery in 1978, this remarkable geological formation provides valuable insights into our planet’s ancient history.

Geologic Age and Significance

  1. Age: Eriksson’s Dune dates back approximately 3.2 billion years (3.2 Ga), placing it firmly within the Archean eon.
  2. Tidal Rhythm: Beyond its age, Eriksson’s Dune is significant because it represents the oldest geologically recorded evidence of tidal rhythm. The interlaminated sandstones within the rock dune reveal cycles associated with ancient tides.
  3. Eolian Processes: The dune also preserves evidence of eolian (wind-driven) processes. Wind-ripple migration patterns are visible, providing a unique glimpse into Earth’s early atmospheric dynamics.

Geological Composition

Eriksson’s Dune is a captivating mix of sedimentary layers:

  1. Small Sandstone Conglomerates: These conglomerates contain a variety of sand-sized particles cemented together.
  2. Cross-Bedded Sandstones: Cross-bedding indicates shifting currents and deposition in an ancient tidal environment.
  3. Laminated Siltstone and Mudstone: These fine-grained layers reflect sedimentation during different tidal conditions.

Moon-Earth System in the Archean

During Eriksson’s Dune’s formation, the Earth-Moon system was dramatically different:

  1. Closer Moon: The Moon orbited much closer to Earth, at about 70% of today’s distance (167,000 miles).
  2. Larger Moon: The Moon appeared 50% larger in the skies of early Earth due to its proximity.
  3. Shorter Days: Earth’s rotation was faster, resulting in approximately 13-hour days.
  4. Intense Tides: The close Earth-Moon interaction led to more powerful ocean tides than we experience today.

Tidal Layers and Early Ocean Dynamics

Eriksson’s Dune contains up to 15 distinct tidal layers, each representing varying tidal strengths. These preserved layers offer a unique window into the dynamics of the ancient Moon-Earth system.

Specimen Details

  • Size: 62mm L X 39mm W X 8mm D
  • Weight: 30 grams
  • Coating: Lightly coated on both sides (washable with soap)
  • Appearance: Eolian lithified crust on top and sides, revealing visible sand deposit layers and lithified elements.

Educational Value

By adding Eriksson’s Dune to your geological collection, you gain an unparalleled educational resource. Explore the early Earth-Moon system, study tidal rhythms, and appreciate the beauty of our planet’s ancient past. 



This specimen of Eriksson's Dune was legally collected and arrives with a Certificate of Authenticity, tag, tag stand, and information about the specimen. IN SITU photo included.