Formation and early evolution of the atmosphere
Bernard Marty, Nicolas Dauphas, 2002. "Formation and early evolution of the atmosphere", The Early Earth: Physical, Chemical and Biological Development, C. M. R. Fowler, C. J. Ebinger, C. J. Hawkesworth
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The tectonic activity of the Earth allowed exchange of volatile elements (H, C, N, rare gases) between the surface of the Earth (atmosphere, crust, sediments, oceans) and the mantle. However, some of these elements still present elemental and isotopic heterogeneities that allow us to reconstruct the volatile composition of the terrestrial mantle. The protosolar nebula supplied a significant fraction of helium and neon, which were presumably trapped during the major phase of the Earth’s accretion and were possibly hosted by accreting dust and/or small porous planetesimals. Surprisingly, volatile elements are in chondritic proportion despite their drastic (10−3) depletion in the mantle relative to chondrites, in a way that recalls the case of highly siderophile elements. From stable isotope systematics, we find that the contribution of comets to the volatile inventory of the Earth was very limited. The integrated flux of chondritic-like material necessary to provide water, carbon and nitrogen is consistent with that required for the formation of the lunar craters as well as that necessary to account for the inventory of siderophile elements in the mantle. A consequence of this scenario is that the Earth’s surface was oxidized very early. Alternatively, volatile and siderophile elements of the mantle could be the remnant of small patches of chondritic material that did not equilibrate with the core nor drastically degas.
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This volume contains a series of papers that cover a wide range of aspects, including geophysics, structure and tectonics, atmosphere, origin of life, biosphere, deep mantle geochemistry, early oceans, microbial ecology, on the development of the Earth in the first 2000 Ma of its history.The aim of this publication is to facilitate future discussions and understanding of this area of research.
This book is divided into three parts:
Geophysical and petrological constraints on Archaean lithosphere
Models of cratonic evolution and modification
Constraints on the Archaean environment
Subjects covered include the chemical and biological controls on the atmosphere and oceans, early controls on the carbon cycle and photosynthesis, petrologic, isotopic, tectonic and seismic evidence for the composition and structure of Archaean lithosphere.
This volume should be of interest to geologists and geophysicists who work on the Archaean, and students at all levels.