Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evidence From Hawaiian Volcanoes Shows That Earth Recycles Its Crust

Date:
November 30, 2006
Source:
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Summary:
Rutgers University geological sciences professor Claude Herzberg offers new evidence that parts of the Earth's crust that long ago dove hundreds or thousands of kilometers into the Earth's interior have resurfaced in the hot lava flow of Hawaiian volcanoes. Writing in Nature, Herzberg claims to have found telltale chemical evidence at Mauna Kea that pieces of this submerged crust have been forced up through plumes and now make up most of this volcano's lava flow.

Snow caps the summits of Mauna Loa (center) and Mauna Kea (toward the top, center) volcanoes on the island of Hawaii. This true-color image was acquired by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying aboard NASA's Terra satellite, on February 28, 2002.
Credit: Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

A geologist at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has come up with evidence our planet practices recycling on a grand scale.

Writing in the prestigious British science journal Nature, geological sciences professor Claude Herzberg offers new evidence that parts of the Earth's crust that long ago dove hundreds or thousands of kilometers into the Earth's interior have resurfaced in the hot lava flow of Hawaiian volcanoes.

"This concept has been a big issue in the earth sciences," Herzberg said. While it had been proposed earlier by some geologists, the profession hasn't embraced it because evidence until now remained sketchy. "Many geologists felt that when Earth's crust was forced deep into the mantle, a process called subduction, it would simply stay there."

Herzberg claims to have found telltale chemical evidence at Mauna Kea that pieces of this submerged crust have been forced up through plumes and now make up most of this volcano's lava flow. "The low calcium in the Hawaiian magma pegs it as crust that had melted and been forced to the surface," he said. The calcium levels in traditional magma, which comes from melting the Earth's mantle layer below the crust, are much higher.

Herzberg said his research doesn't stop in Hawaii and that his chemical findings will be useful in understanding the makeup and action of other volcanoes around the world. These findings extend beyond calcium and include sulfur, along with isotopes of the heavier elements hafnium and lead that are tracers for clays and other materials that originated close to the surface prior to subduction.

"Chemical patterns we've found elsewhere used to be puzzles but are now starting to make sense," he said.

Still, the big island of Hawaii remains the prime site for uncovering the secrets of volcanic action, as it has the largest volcanoes on Earth and is the most productive in terms of lava outpouring. Herzberg believes the information he's uncovered about magma chemistry might one day help scientists predict eruptions, as different chemical abundances show up at different times in the volcanoes' eruption cycles.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. "Evidence From Hawaiian Volcanoes Shows That Earth Recycles Its Crust." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129151446.htm>.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. (2006, November 30). Evidence From Hawaiian Volcanoes Shows That Earth Recycles Its Crust. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129151446.htm
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. "Evidence From Hawaiian Volcanoes Shows That Earth Recycles Its Crust." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061129151446.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Balloon Descends to Bottom of Croatian Cave

Raw: Balloon Descends to Bottom of Croatian Cave

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) An Austrian balloon pilot has succeeded in taking a balloon deep underground, a feat which he believes is a world first. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bodies Recovered from Japan Volcano Eruption

Bodies Recovered from Japan Volcano Eruption

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Rescue crews finished recovering the remaining 27 bodies from atop Japan's Mount Ontake Monday. At least 31 people were killed Saturday in the mountain's first fatal volcanic event in modern history. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan's Mount Ontake Erupts

Raw: Japan's Mount Ontake Erupts

AP (Sep. 27, 2014) A volcano erupted in central Japan on Saturday, sending a large plume of ash high into the sky and prompting a warning to climbers and others to avoid the area. (Sept. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins