Global modelling of continent formation and destruction through geological time and implications for CO2 drawdown in the Archaean Eon
Jan D. Kramers, 2002. "Global modelling of continent formation and destruction through geological time and implications for CO2 drawdown in the Archaean Eon", The Early Earth: Physical, Chemical and Biological Development, C. M. R. Fowler, C. J. Ebinger, C. J. Hawkesworth
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The possible drawdown of a massive CO2 atmosphere in early Earth history is discussed using two working hypotheses: first, that this removal of CO2 from the atmosphere occurred mainly via silicate weathering; second, that crust-to-mantle recycling rates found from forward modelling of crust-mantle history can be used to estimate rates of this ancient silicate weathering. Previous U-Th-Pb and Sm-Nd forward modelling efforts are reviewed, from which it was concluded that an insignificant amount of continental crust existed at 4.4 Ga, i.e. so-called ‘no-growth models’ for the continental crust appear untenable. New modelling carried out is based on a crustal growth curve starting with zero mass at 4.2 Ga and reaching 75% of the present crust mass by 2 Ga. It concerns variations in crust-to-mantle recycling rates through geological time. Best fits to isotope data are obtained if it is assumed that erosion rates (mass removal per unit surface) were approximately constant from early Archaean time to the present. From the results it can be estimated that drawdown of a massive CO2 atmosphere by silicate weathering could have been completed by the end of Archaean time at the earliest, and about 1.5 Ga ago at the latest.
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The Early Earth: Physical, Chemical and Biological Development
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.