Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unique Chemistry Reveals Eruption of Ancient Materials Once at Earth’s Surface

26.04.2013
New study supports theory that Earth’s earliest crust was folded back into its mantle and returned to the surface in volcanoes

An international team of researchers, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, geochemist James Day, has found new evidence that material contained in oceanic lava flows originated in Earth’s ancient Archean crust. These findings support the theory that much of the Earth’s original crust has been recycled by the process of subduction, helping to explain how the Earth has formed and changed over time.

The Archean geologic eon, Earth’s second oldest, dating from 3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago, is the source of the oldest exposed rock formations on the planet’s surface. (Archean rocks are known from Greenland, the Canadian Shield, the Baltic Shield, Scotland, India, Brazil, western Australia, and southern Africa.) Although the first continents were formed during the Archean eon, rock of this age makes up only around seven percent of the world's current crust.

“Our new results are important because they provide strong evidence not only to tie materials that were once on Earth's surface to an entire cycle of subduction, storage in the mantle, and return to the surface as lavas, but they also place a firm time constraint on when plate tectonics began; no later than 2.5 billion years ago,” said Day. “This is because mass independent sulfur signatures have only been shown to occur in the atmosphere during periods of low oxygenation prior to the rise of oxygen-exhaling organisms.”

The new study, which will be published in the April 24 issue of the journal Nature, adds further support to the theory that most of the Archean crust was subducted or folded back into the Earth’s mantle, evidence of which is seen in the presence of specific sulfur isotopes found in some oceanic lava flows.

According to the researchers, because terrestrial independently fractionated (MIF) sulfur-isotope isotope signatures were generated exclusively through atmospheric photochemical reactions until about 2.5 billion years ago, material containing such isotopes must have originated in the Archean crust. In the new study, the researchers found MIF sulfur-isotope signatures in olivine-hosted sulfides from relatively young (20-million-year-old) ocean island basalts (OIB) from Mangaia, Cook Islands (Polynesia), providing evidence that the mantle is the only possible source of the ancient Archean materials found in the Mangaia lavas.

“The discovery of MIF-S isotope in these young oceanic lavas suggests that sulfur—likely derived from the hydrothermally-altered oceanic crust—was subducted into the mantle more than 2.5 billion years ago and recycled into the mantle source of the Mangaia lavas,” said Rita Cabral, the study’s primary author and a graduate student in Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment.

The data also complement evidence for sulfur recycling of ancient sedimentary materials to the subcontinental lithospheric mantle previously identified in diamond inclusions.

Other study co-authors are Matthew G. Jackson of Boston University; Estelle F. Rose-Koga and Kenneth T. Koga of Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, France; Martin J. Whitehouse of the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; Michael A. Antonelli and James Farquhar of the University of Maryland; and Erik H. Hauri of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Washington, D.C.
Media Contact
Robert Monroe, 858-534-3624, scrippsnews@ucsd.edu
Secondary media contact:
Mario Aguilera, 858-534-3624, scrippsnews@ucsd.edu

Robert Monroe | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>