The researchers searched through several deep-sea sediments from two different locations that date back 33,000 years using the extreme sensitivity of HIAF’s mass spectrometer. They found clear traces of the isotope iron-60, which is formed when stars die in supernova explosions.
Iron-60 is radioactive and completely decays away within 15 million years, which means any iron-60 found on Earth must have been formed much later than the rest of the 4.6-billion-year old earth and arrived here from nearby supernovae before settling on the ocean floor.
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