Formation and formation of the continental cruston Earth during the Archean (4–2.5 billion years ago) is of great importance in the study of plate tectonics, ocean chemistry and biological evolution. This was about half a billion years earlier than previously estimated, according to a new study presented at the European Geosciences (EGU) General Assembly in 2021.
A new hypothesis was put forward by a group of scientists fromNorway, Germany and the Netherlands. According to their hypothesis, the final formation of the earth's crust was completed 3.7 billion years ago. Thus, the age of the earth's crust turned out to be 500 billion years older than science hitherto assumed.
Previously, the age of the earth's crust was determined usingstrontium isotopes in marine carbonates entering the ocean during the weathering of minerals that make up tectonic plates. However, scientists have now investigated the minerals barite, which are formed by mixing sea water with barium and have a more stable chemical composition.
By applying strontium isotope research, scientistsfound that the age of barites found in six independent regions of the Earth is from 3.2 to 3.5 billion years. Thus, scientists have determined that the process of weathering of continental rock with its further entry into the ocean and precipitation in the form of barites began about 3.7 billion years ago.
Increasing age of maturetectonic plates for 500 million years can significantly affect the assessment of the process of the origin of life on Earth and the study of geological processes that took place during the formation of land, the chemical composition of which is significantly different from the underwater crust.