Researchers have found a primitive Earth mantle reservoir on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Geologist Matthew Jackson and his colleagues from a multi-institution collaboration report the finding--the first discovery of what may be a primitive Earth mantle--this week in the journal Nature.
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or reservoirs that have different chemical compositions.
Scientists had previously concluded that the Earth was slightly older than 4.5 billion years old, but had not found a piece of the Earth's primitive mantle.
Until recently, researchers generally thought that the Earth and the other planets of the solar system were chondritic, meaning that the mantle's chemistry was thought to be similar to that of chondrites--some of the oldest, most primitive objects in the solar system. Assuming a chondritic model of the Earth, a piece of the primitive mantle would have certain isotope ratios of the chemical elements of helium, lead and neodymium.
The model that the Earth was chondritic was called into question with a discovery five years ago by a team at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, which suggested the ratio of neodymium on Earth was higher than what would be expected if the Earth were indeed chondritic.
That finding changed the neodymium ratio expected in the primitive mantle and in turn, changed where researchers should be looking to find evidence of a primitive mantle. According to the lead author, Matthew Jackson, "We had been looking under the wrong rock."
Since many of the ancient rocks have melted over time, finding a piece of the primitive mantle means studying lavas. Lavas retain the same isotopic composition of the rocks that have melted into the lava. Therefore, testing the lava's composition is identical to testing the original rock's composition.
When the assumption about the neodymium ratio was altered, Jackson and his colleagues knew they should take a look at lava samples from Baffin Island, since those samples contained the correct ratios of helium and neodymium. They discovered that the lavas also had the correct ratio for lead. The lead isotopes suggest that the samples from Baffin Island date the lava's mantle source reservoir to between 4.55 and 4.45 billion years old, only a little younger than the age of the Earth. The lava sample comes from an ancient rock that melted 62 million years ago.
When the researchers studied the composition of the lava found at Baffin Island, they discovered that the sample had the correct ratios of all three chemical elements--helium, lead, and the new non-chronditic neodymium ratio. This discovery suggests that the sample from Baffin Island is the first evidence for the oldest mantle reservoir.
This study challenges the idea that the Earth has a chondritic primitive mantle and according to Matthew Jackson is, "suggesting an alternative." One possibility, according to Jackson, is that "the early Earth went through a differentiation event and the Earth's crust was extracted from the early mantle and is now hidden in the deep earth; the hidden crust and the mantle found on Baffin Island would sum to chondritic."
This discovery will help researchers understand the composition of the original, early Earth. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.Media Contacts
Mark Kurz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 508-289-2888 email@example.comRelated Websites
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
Kimberly J. Montgomery | EurekAlert!
Artificial light in the Arctic
08.04.2020 | University of Delaware
Most of Earth's carbon was hidden in the core during its formative years
02.04.2020 | Smithsonian
Digitalkameras, aber auch viele andere elektronische Anwendungen benötigen lichtempfindliche Sensoren. Um den steigenden Bedarf an solchen optoelektronischen Bauteilen zu decken, sucht die Industrie nach neuen Halbleitermaterialien. Diese sollten nicht nur einen möglichst breiten Wellenlängenbereich erfassen, sondern auch preisgünstig sein. Ein in Dresden entwickeltes Hybridmaterial erfüllt beide Anforderungen. Himani Arora, Physik-Doktorandin am Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), wies nach, dass sich eine metallorganische Verbindung als Breitband-Fotodetektor verwenden lässt. Da es keine teuren Rohstoffe enthält, kann es in großen Mengen preisgünstig produziert werden.
Metallorganische Gerüste (Metal-Organic Frameworks, MOFs) haben sich in den vergangenen zwanzig Jahren zu einem gefragten Materialsystem entwickelt. Die...
Digital cameras as well as many other electronic devices need light-sensitive sensors. In order to cater for the increasing demand for optoelectronic components of this kind, industry is searching for new semiconductor materials. They are not only supposed to cover a broad range of wavelengths but should also be inexpensive.
A hybrid material, developed in Dresden, fulfils both these requirements. Himani Arora, a physics PhD student at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR),...
Forschende der Universität Stuttgart nehmen innovatives induktives Plasmatriebwerk auf Helicon-Basis in Betrieb
Erdbeobachtungssatelliten für niedrige Flughöhen, kleiner, leichter und billiger als herkömmliche Modelle: Das sind die Ziele des EU- Projekts „DISCOVERER“, an...
The development of the first high-repetition-rate laser source that produces coherent soft x-rays spanning the entire 'water window' heralds the beginning of a new generation of attosecond technology
The ability to generate light pulses of sub-femtosecond duration, first demonstrated some 20 years ago, has given rise to an entirely new field: attosecond...
Er kommt ohne Verkabelung aus und seine tragende Struktur ist gleichzeitig ein Akku: An einem derart raffiniert gebauten Kleinsatelliten arbeiten Forschungsteams aus Braunschweig und Würzburg. Für 2023 ist das Testen des Kleinsatelliten im Orbit geplant.
Manche Satelliten sind nur wenig größer als eine Milchtüte. Dieser Bautypus soll jetzt eine weiter vereinfachte Architektur bekommen und dadurch noch leichter...
06.04.2020 | Veranstaltungen
03.04.2020 | Veranstaltungen
02.04.2020 | Veranstaltungen
09.04.2020 | Förderungen Preise
09.04.2020 | Materialwissenschaften
09.04.2020 | Biowissenschaften Chemie