Earth Continents Created by Giant Meteor Impacts in the First Billion Years of the Planet’s History: Research

Washington, August 13: Research suggests that Earth’s continents were formed by massive meteor impacts that were especially common during the first billion years of our planet’s four-and-a-half billion year history.

Dr Tim Johnson, from Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said the idea that continents originally formed on the sites of giant meteorite impacts had been around for decades, but so far it there was little solid evidence to support the theory.

“By examining tiny crystals of the mineral zircon in rocks of the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia, which represents the best preserved remnant of Earth’s ancient crust, we found evidence of these giant meteorite impacts,” said Dr Johnson.

“Study of the oxygen isotope composition in these zircon crystals revealed a ‘falling down’ process beginning with the melting of rocks near the surface and progressing deeper, consistent with the geological effect of meteorite impacts. giantess. NASA InSight Mission Reveals Martian Equator Is Dry With Little To No Ice.

“Our research provides the first strong evidence that the processes that eventually formed the continents began with giant meteorite impacts, similar to those responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, but which occurred billions of years earlier. “

Dr Johnson said understanding the formation and continued evolution of Earth’s continents was crucial given that these landmasses are home to the majority of Earth’s biomass, all humans and nearly all of Earth’s significant mineral deposits. planet.

“Not least, continents are home to critical metals such as lithium, tin and nickel, commodities essential to the emerging green technologies needed to fulfill our obligation to mitigate climate change,” Dr Johnson said.

“These mineral deposits are the end result of a process known as crustal differentiation, which began with the formation of the first landmasses, of which the Pilbara Craton is just one of many.” to show patterns similar to those recognized in Western Australia. We would like to test our findings on these ancient rocks to see if, as we suspect, our model is more broadly applicable.”

Dr. Johnson is affiliated with the Institute for Geoscience Research (TIGeR), Curtin’s flagship earth science research institute. The article, “Giant impacts and the origin and evolution of continents”, was published in Nature. (ANI)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from syndicated newsfeed, LatestLY staff may not have edited or edited the body of the content)