What is the Acasta Gneiss?
"It's a very important location for Canada and for the world and for everyone who is interested in the early Earth," said Robert Creaser, chair of the University of Alberta's department of Earth and atmospheric sciences.
The Acasta Gneiss has been a gem in the geological world since being discovered in the late 1980's due to its insight of how the world was formed billions of years ago. Geologists call it a rare and valuable specimen, a relic of billions of years ago that is immensely difficult to study due to its location. The Acasta Gneiss is on an island about 300 kilometres north of the Yellowknife, the Acasta River rock deposit is believed to be around 4.03 billion years old, making it the oldest known intact crustal deposit on Earth. Bits of the Gneiss have gone to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., universities, collectors and researchers all over the world. The Acasta to this day is being studied and researched with the most recent scientific paper being published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience on August 14 2018.
To further showcase the Acasta’s importance, The Acasta Gneiss is the reason why Yellowknife has its Name of Mars. On August 5 2012 the Mars curiosity rover landed successfully on Quad 51. After doing mineral testing in Quad 51, the Mars curiosity rover discovered that the age of the Mars rock was strikingly similar to age dated rocks located on the Acasta Gneiss. NASA officially named Quad 51, Yellowknife Bay, due to the oldest rocks on earth being located near The NWT capital city.