Earth's Oldest Rocks, Second Edition, is the only single reference source for geological research of early Earth. This new edition is an up-to-date collection of scientific articles on all aspects of the early history of the Earth, from planetary accretion at 4.567 billion years ago (Ga), to the onset of modern-style plate tectonics at 3.2 Ga. Since the first edition was published, significant new advances have been made in our understanding of events and processes on early Earth that correspond with new advances in technology. The book includes contributions from over 100 authors, all of whom are experts in their respective fields.
The research in this reference concentrates on what is directly gleaned from the existing rock record to understand how our planet formed and evolved during the planetary accretion phase, formation of the first crust, the changing dynamics of the mantle and style of tectonics, life's foothold and early development, and mineral deposits. It is an ideal resource for academics, students and the general public alike.
- Advances in early Earth research since 2007 based primarily on evidence gleaned directly from the rock record
- More than 50% of the chapters in this edition are new and the rest of the chapters are revised from the first edition, with more than 700 pages of new material
- Comprehensive reviews of areas of ancient lithosphere from all over the world, and of crust-forming processes
- New chapters on early solar system materials, composition of the ancient atmosphere-hydrosphere, and overviews of the oldest evidence of life on Earth, and modeling of early Earth tectonics
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Section 1: Getting started 1. Early solar system materials, processes, and chronology 2. Origin of the Earth and the Late Heavy Bombardment 3. Early Earth atmosphere and oceans
Section 2: Overviews of Early Earth processes 4. Modelling early Earth tectonics: The case for stagnant lid behaviour in Early Earth 5. The earliest subcontinental lithospheric mantle 6. Distribution and geochemistry of komatiites and basalts through the Archean 7. The formation of tonalites-trondjhemites-granodiorites and of the early continental crust 8. Early Archean asteroid impacts on Earth: Stratigraphic and isotopic age correlations and possible geodynamic consequences 9. Palaeoarchean (3.6-3.2Ga) mineral systems in the context of continental crust building and the role of mantle plumes 10. Origin of Paleoarchean sulfate deposits
Section 3: The most ancient remnants 11. Earth's Oldest Rocks and Minerals 12. The oldest terrestrial mineral record: Thirty years of research on Hadean zircon from Jack Hills, Western Australia 13. Evidence of Hadean to Paleoarchean crust in the Youanmi and Southwest terranes, and Eastern Goldfields Superterrane of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia 14. Hadean to Paleoarchean rocks and zircons in China 15. The Acasta Gneiss Complex 16. The Nuvvuagittuq greenstone belt: A glimpse of Earth's earliest crust 17. The 3.9-3.6 Ga Itsaq Gneiss Complex of Greenland: Quasi-uniformitarian geodynamics towards the end of Earth's first billion years 18. The Narryer Terrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia: review and recent developments
Section 4: Well-preserved granitoid-greenstone terrains 19. Paleoarchean development of a continental nucleus: The East Pilbara Terrane of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia 20. The oldest well-preserved felsic volcanic rocks on Earth: Geochemical clues to the early evolution of the Pilbara Supergroup and implications for the growth of a Paleoarchean protocontinent 21. Geochemistry of Paleoarchean granites of the East Pilbara Terrane, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: implications for early Archean crustal growth 22. Palaeoarchaean mineral deposits of the Pilbara Craton: genesis, tectonic environment and comparisons with younger deposits 23. Early Archean crustal evolution in southern Africa
an updated record of the Ancient Gneiss Complex of Swaziland 24. Geology of the Barberton Greenstone Belt
A unique record of crustal development, surface processes, and early life 3.55 to 3.2 Ga 25. TTG plutons of the Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain, southern Africa 26. Tectono-metamorphic controls on Archaean gold mineralisation in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa: An example from the New Consort gold mine
Section 5: Filling the gaps 27. Paleoarchean gneisses in the Minnesota River Valley and northern Michigan, USA 28. The Assean Lake Complex: Ancient crust at the northwestern margin of the Superior Craton, Manitoba, Canada 29. Oldest rocks of the Wyoming Craton 30. Early crustal evolution as recorded in the granitoids of the Singhbhum and western Dharwar cratons, India 31. Palaeoarchaean crustal evolution of the Bundelkhand Craton, north-central India 32. Paleoarchean rocks in the Fennoscandian Shield 33. Archean crustal evolution in the Ukrainian shield 34. The Palaeoarchaean record of the Zimbabwe Craton 35. Ancient Antarctica: The Archean of the East Antarctic Shield
Section 6: Life 36. Implications of carbonate and chert isotope records for the early Earth 37. Archean cherts: formation processes and paleo-environments 38. The significance of carbonaceous matter to understanding life processes on early Earth 39. Eoarchean Life from the Isua supracrustal belt (Greenland) 40. Depositional setting of the fossiliferous, c. 3480 Ma Dresser Formation, Pilbara Craton: A review 41. Early Archean (pre-3.0 Ga) cellularly-preserved microfossils and microfossil-like structures from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia
A review 42. Traces of early Life from the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa
Prof. van Kranendonk was born and trained in Canada, receiving his PhD in 1992 and then undertaking a post-doc position at the Geological Survey of Canada from 1992-1994. In 1994, he moved to Australia as an ARC post-doctoral fellow at the University of Newcastle, where he commenced research on the Pilbara. He then joined the Geological Survey of Western Australia in 1997, where he worked for 15 years until the start of 2012, when he accepted a position as Professor of Geology at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia, where he is the Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology. Prof. van Kranendonk is a leading world expert on the early Earth. His main interests are Archean tectonics and the geological setting of early life on Earth. He has appeared on numerous television and radio documentaries on early Earth, and has been involved in educational outreach programs for school children and the general public.
Professor Bennett is a geochemist at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. She received her PhD in 1989 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and then moved to Australia to begin a post-doctoral fellow position at RSES the same year. As part of the "First Billion Years project she began collaborative investigations of the oldest rocks in Western Australia and southwest Greenland. In 2000 she became the first tenured female faculty member and is currently Associate Director and Head of the Isotope Geochemistry Group at RSES. Prof. Bennett is an international expert on the geochemistry of the early Earth, particularly as applied to understanding the formation and chemical evolution of the crust and mantle and the origin and development of the oldest continents.
Dr. Hoffmann was born in Germany. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from University of Münster (Germany) and his Ph.D. degree in 2011 from University of Bonn (Germany). After post-doc positions at the Universities of Bonn, Cologne and Berlin, he accepted a lecturer and lab manager position at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). He was mapping geologist for the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) during several field seasons in the Archean of western Greenland between 2005 and 2007. He carried out field work in the eastern Kaapvaal craton and in the Isua region of Greenland. He is an expert in Archean geology, where his specialty is in combining field geology and advanced analytical techniques in the field of isotope and trace element geochemistry, petrology and geochemical modelling to place constraints on the evolution of the early continental crust and the Archaean mantle.