How continents formed on Earth

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 11:51

Washington: Researchers have provided a new insight on how continents formed early in Earth history.

A research led by a University of Calgary geophysicist provided strong evidence against continent formation above a hot mantle plume, similar to an environment that presently exists beneath the Hawaiian Islands.

The analysis indicates that the nuclei of Earth`s continents formed as a byproduct of mountain-building processes, by stacking up slabs of relatively cold oceanic crust, which created thick, strong `keels` in the Earth`s mantle that supported the overlying crust and enabled continents to form.

The Department of Geoscience`s Professor David Eaton developed computer software to enable numerical simulation of the slow diffusive cooling of Earth`s mantle over a time span of billions of years.

Working in collaboration with former graduate student, Assistant Professor Claire Perry from the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Eaton relied on the geological record of diamonds found in Africa to validate his innovative computer simulations.

The study has been published in Nature Geoscience.

ANI



First Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 11:51

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