Sunday, October 2, 2022
News

Researchers reveal evidence of continents created by giant meteorite impacts

   SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend    Print this Page   COMMENT

Washington | August 13, 2022 4:57:25 PM IST
Research suggests the continents of Earth were formed by massive meteorite impacts that were particularly 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 the continents originally formed at sites of giant meteorite impacts had been around for decades, but until now there was little solid evidence to support the theory.

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

"Studying the composition of oxygen isotopes in these zircon crystals revealed a 'top-down' process starting with the melting of rocks near the surface and progressing deeper, consistent with the geological effect of giant meteorite impacts.

"Our research provides the first solid evidence that the processes that ultimately 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 ongoing evolution of the Earth's continents was crucial given that these landmasses host the majority of Earth's biomass, all humans and almost all of the planet's important mineral deposits.

"Not least, the continents host critical metals such as lithium, tin and nickel, commodities that are essential to the emerging green technologies needed to fulfil 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 earliest landmasses, of which the Pilbara Craton is just one of many."Data related to other areas of ancient continental crust on Earth appears to show patterns similar to those recognised in Western Australia. We would like to test our findings on these ancient rocks to see if, as we suspect, our model is more widely applicable."

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

 
  LATEST COMMENTS (0)
POST YOUR COMMENT
Comments Not Available
 
POST YOUR COMMENT
 
 
TRENDING TOPICS
 
 
CITY NEWS
MORE CITIES
 
 
 
MORE SCIENCE NEWS
Study: Urban forests have fewer bird spe...
Researchers find how ticks weaken skin's...
Twitter bans over 57K accounts for promo...
Researchers discover a galaxy sparkling ...
Scientists reveals that obesity is a neu...
Structure of family groups gives animals...
More...
 
INDIA WORLD ASIA
Assam Police foils smuggling bid, rescue...
Sonia Gandhi, Kharge pay tribute to Maha...
Kaziranga National Park to partially reo...
CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan no mo...
Railway employees to get bonus equivalen...
Top BJP leaders call for truce between O...
More...    
 
 Top Stories
Punjab police bust inter-state drug... 
India, New Zealand navies sign pact... 
Snake interrupts play during second... 
Helpful volunteers, beats of Dhol, ... 
Telecom Minister launches multi-acc... 
Over 90 killed in Iran protests ove... 
CM Yogi holds high-level meeting af... 
China pushes Gulf nations to deport...