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Department of Earth Sciences

New insights on crustal growth

(27 April 2007)

Steve Parman has published a paper in Nature that revises the story of crustal evolution. The paper uses Steve's published high pressure/temperature experiments (Parman et al., Nature 2005) to re-interpret the chemical evolution of the Earth's interior. In particular, the results suggest that there were four catastrophic magmatic epochs in the Earth's history (1.2, 1.9, 2.7 and 3.3 billion years ago), when much of the Earth's present chemical and physical structure were set (including the production of the land we live on). Moreover, these events seem to correspond to significant periods in the evolution of life: including the development of oxygenic photosynthesis, the earliest cell nucleii and the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere. The reference is: Parman, SW, (2007) Helium isotopic evidence for episodic mantle melting and crustal growth,Nature v 446(7138) p 900-903. Nature podcast website: http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/archivetranscripts.html Science news article: http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/418/4

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