Conditions on the early earth were very similar to those today, say secular geologists. They have been surprised by new research on zircon crystals—some 'dated' to over 4 billion years old, only 500 million years after the earth formed, the 'Hadean Eon' on the evolutionary timescale.
The results indicate that the world must have originally had oceans and continental land just as it does today. This is a huge backflip in thinking by orthodox, uniformitarian geologists, who for decades said that the early earth was utterly hostile to life, being covered by a glowing sea of molten rock. Not so, they now say.
Zircons are tiny crystals found in sandstone that derive from volcanic rocks. Oxygen isotope comparisons of Hadean and Icelandic zircons have found that copious amounts of water were present as oceans on the early earth, and that temperatures seem to have been much cooler than expected. The picture emerging is getting ever closer to the Bible's description. 2 Peter 3:5 indicates that the earth "was formed out of water and through water", and Genesis 1:2 implies that it was covered in water right at the start (dry land emerged just days later, v. 9).