Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New way to calculate age of Earth's crust

Date:
January 13, 2011
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
A new way to calculate the age of Earth's crust has been developed by researchers in the UK.

A new way to calculate the age of Earth's crust has been developed by researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of St Andrews.

The continental crust is the principal record of conditions on the Earth for the last 4.4 billion years. Its formation modified the composition of the mantle and the atmosphere, it supports life, and it remains a sink for carbon dioxide through weathering and erosion. The continental crust therefore has had a key role in the evolution of the Earth, and yet the timing of its generation remains the topic of considerable debate.

It is widely believed that the juvenile continental crust has grown from the depleted upper mantle. One common way to assess when new crust was formed is to determine the radiogenic isotope composition of any crustal sample, and to compare its isotope signature with that of the depleted mantle. In other words, radiogenic isotopes can be used to calculate 'model ages' of crust formation, which represent the time since a crustal sample was separated from its mantle source.

The concept of 'model age' has been widely used in crustal evolution studies for the last three decades. However it is increasingly clear that using the isotope composition of the depleted mantle as a reference for the calculation of model ages of continental crust generation can lead to incomplete interpretations.

In a paper published in Science, Dr Bruno Dhuime of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences and colleagues describe a new methodology for the calculation of model ages, based on the isotope composition of the average new continental crust.

Dr Dhuime said: "Ages calculated this way are significantly younger than model ages calculated from the isotope composition of the depleted mantle. New ages obtained are more consistent with the geological record, which opens new perspectives in crustal evolution studies based on radiogenic isotopes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bruno Dhuime, Chris Hawkesworth, Peter Cawood. When Continents Formed. Science, 2011; 331 (6014): 154-155 DOI: 10.1126/science.1201245

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "New way to calculate age of Earth's crust." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141609.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2011, January 13). New way to calculate age of Earth's crust. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141609.htm
University of Bristol. "New way to calculate age of Earth's crust." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113141609.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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