Earth's habitability Geology

At Science Daily: Evidence that giant meteorite impacts created the continents

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Dr. Tim Johnson, from Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said the idea that the continents originally formed at sites of giant meteorite impacts had been around for decades, but until now there was little evidence to support the theory.

“By examining tiny crystals of the mineral zircon in rocks from the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia, which represents Earth’s best-preserved remnant of ancient crust, we found evidence of these giant meteorite impacts,” Dr. Johnson said.

Giant impact on Earth, illustration (stock image; elements furnished by NASA).
Credit: © muratart / stock.adobe.com

“Studying the composition of oxygen isotopes in these zircon crystals revealed a ‘top-down’ process starting with the melting of rocks near the surface and progressing deeper, consistent with the geological effect of giant meteorite impacts.

“Our research provides the first solid evidence that the processes that ultimately formed the continents began with giant meteorite impacts, similar to those responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, but which occurred billions of years earlier.”

Dr Johnson said understanding the formation and ongoing evolution of the Earth’s continents was crucial given that these landmasses host the majority of Earth’s biomass, all humans and almost all of the planet’s important mineral deposits.

“Not least, the continents host critical metals such as lithium, tin and nickel, commodities that are essential to the emerging green technologies needed to fulfil our obligation to mitigate climate change,” Dr. Johnson said.

“These mineral deposits are the end result of a process known as crustal differentiation, which began with the formation of the earliest landmasses, of which the Pilbara Craton is just one of many.

“Data related to other areas of ancient continental crust on Earth appears to show patterns similar to those recognised in Western Australia. We would like to test our findings on these ancient rocks to see if, as we suspect, our model is more widely applicable.”

Dr. Johnson is affiliated with The Institute for Geoscience Research (TIGeR), Curtin’s flagship earth sciences research institute.

The paper, ‘Giant impacts and the origin and evolution of continents‘, was published in Nature.

Science Daily

8 Replies to “At Science Daily: Evidence that giant meteorite impacts created the continents

  1. 1
    chuckdarwin says:

    I’m really confused. I was at the Ark Museum in Kentucky and it showed people and dinosaurs hanging out together. Why didn’t the meteors that killed the dinosaurs also kill off all the people?

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Perhaps the people of the time heard a divine voice yelling “Incoming” and had enough time to build giant submersible “arks” like in the movie 2012 to save some of their number.

  3. 3
    relatd says:

    Yeah, right…

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    Is there now a societal requirement that all science papers must now make gratuitous references to “climate change”? In the article here, we read, “Not least, the continents host critical metals such as lithium, tin and nickel, commodities that are essential to the emerging green technologies needed to fulfil our obligation to mitigate climate change,”. So a geological history author feels it necessary to tie his work on continental crust formation billions of years ago into “climate change” however remotely the link. One wonders, does he get peer-review or editorial brownie points (AKA vapid virtue signalling) for doing that?
    It seems every news article, documentary, science paper, government edict, and school announcement must now reference something somehow related to “climate change”. Add in all the Darwinism memes and “woke” ideology and it is clear why science journalism has slid downhill these past few decades.

  5. 5
    relatd says:

    Fasteddious at 4,

    You must understand that “disaster announcements” generate fear. Fear, it is believed, causes people to buy things like electric cars. This will continue until the next “official disaster” appears.

    As for climate change, I see little evidence for it. Records exist that show the Earth and different regions go through brief changes. In August 1983, the temperature in my city hit 103 degrees for the first time. That event did not repeat itself in later years. In the 1960s, around this time, the temperature would get up to 98 degrees, but this was average.

  6. 6
    Fasteddious says:

    Yes, I have two questions for climate alarmists:
    1. When has the climate not been changing?
    2. When was the climate optimum, and how do you know that?

  7. 7

    Speaking of Zircon, back in 2005 I attended a conference in San Diego put on by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR.com) announcing the results of their 8-year study on Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE) see: https://www.icr.org/rate/
    https://www.icr.org/article/young-helium-diffusion-age-zircons

    Quite an interesting couple of days.

  8. 8
    asauber says:

    Is there now a societal requirement that all science papers must now make gratuitous references to “climate change”?

    Fasteddious,

    I call it the Genuflection and it has been around for at least 15 or 20 years.

    Andrew

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