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Earth's Oldest Rocks - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444528100, 9780080552477

Earth's Oldest Rocks

1st Edition

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Editors: Martin Van Kranendonk Vickie Bennett Hugh Smithies
Hardcover ISBN: 9780444528100
eBook ISBN: 9780080552477
Imprint: Elsevier Science
Published Date: 24th September 2007
Page Count: 1330
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Earth’s Oldest Rocks provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of early Earth, from planetary accretion through to development of protocratons with depleted lithospheric keels by c. 3.2 Ga, in a series of papers written by over 50 of the world's leading experts. The book is divided into two chapters on early Earth history, ten chapters on the geology of specific cratons, and two chapters on early Earth analogues and the tectonic framework of early Earth. Individual contributions address topics that range from planetary accretion, a review of Earth meteorites, significance and composition of Hadean protocrust, composition of Archaean mantle and deep crust, all aspects of the geology of Paleoarchean cratons, composition of Archean oceans and hydrothermal environments, evidence and geological settings of early life, early Earth analogues from Venus and New Zealand, and a tectonic framework for early Earth.

Key Features

  • Contains comprehensive reviews of areas of ancient lithosphere on Earth, of planetary accretion processes, and of meteorites
  • Focuses on specific aspects of early Earth, including oldest putative life forms, evidence of the composition of the ancient atmosphere-hydrosphere, and the oldest evidence for subduction-accretion
  • Presents an overview of geological processes and model of the tectonic framework on early Earth


Researchers and advanced undergraduate and graduate students in geology, Precambrian geology, tectonics, geochemistry and petrology, geochronology, and economic geology.

Table of Contents

Dedication Preface 1.Aims, scope and outline of the book: Martin J. Van Kranendonk, R. Hugh Smithies, and Vickie Bennett

Chapter 1: Introduction 2. Overview and history of investigation of early Earth rocks: Brian Windley 3. The distribution of Paleoarchean crust: Kent Condie

Chapter 2: Planetary accretion and the Hadean to Eoarchaean Earth - Building the Foundation 4. The formation of the Earth and Moon: Stuart Ross Taylor 5. Early solar system materials, processes, and chronology: Alex W.R. Bevan 6. Dynamics of the Hadean and Archean Mantle: Geoff Davies 7. The enigma of the terrestrial protocrust: Evidence for its former existence and the importance of its complete disappearance: Balz Kamber 8. The oldest terrestrial mineral record: A review of 4400 to 3900 Ma detrital zircons from Jack Hills, Western Australia: Aaron J. Cavosie, John W. Valley and Simon A. Wilde 9. Evidence of pre-3100 Ma crust in the Youanmi and South West Terranes, and Eastern Goldfields Superterrane of the Yilgarn Craton: Stephen Wyche

Chapter 3: Eoarchean gneiss complexes 10. The early Archean Acasta Gneiss Complex: Geological, geochronological and isotopic studies, and implications for early crustal evolution: Iizuka, T., Komiya, T., Ueno, Y. and Maruyama, S. 11. Ancient Antarctica: The Archean of the East Antarctic Shield: Simon L. Harley and Nigel M. Kelly 12. The Itsaq Gneiss Complex of southern West Greenland and the construction of Eoarchean crust at convergent plate boundaries: Allen P. Nutman, Clark R.L. Friend, Kenji Horie, and Hiroshi Hidaka 13. The geology of the 3.8 Ga Nuvvuagittuq (Porpoise Cove) greenstone belt, northeastern Superior Province, Canada: Jonathan O'Neil, Charles Maurice, Ross K. Stevenson, Jeff Larocque, Christophe Cloquet, Jean David, and Don Francis 14. Eoarchean rocks and zircons in the North China Craton: Lui, D.Y., Wan, Y.S., Wu, J.S., Wilde, S.A., Zhou, H.Y., Dong, C.Y., and Yin, X.Y. 15. The Narryer Terrane, Western Australia: A review: Simon A. Wilde and Catherine Spaggiari

Chapter 4: The Paleoarchean Pilbara Craton, Western Australia 16. Paleoarchean development of a continental nucleus: the East Pilbara Terrane of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Arthur H. Hickman, R. Hugh Smithies and David C. Champion 17. The oldest well-preserved felsic volcanic rocks on Earth: Geochemical clues to the early evolution of the Pilbara Supergroup and implications for the growth of a Paleoarchean protocontinent: R. Hugh Smithies, David C. Champion, and Martin J. Van Kranendonk 18. Geochemistry of Paleoarchean granites of the East Pilbara Terrane, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: implications for early Archean crustal growth: David C. Champion and R. Hugh Smithies 19. Palaeoarchaean mineral deposits of the Pilbara Craton: genesis, tectonic environment and comparisons with younger deposits: David L. Huston, Peter Morant, Franco Pirajno, Brendan Cummins, Darcy Baker and Terrence P. Mernagh

Chapter 5: The Paleoarchean Kaapvaal Craton, Southern Africa 20. An overview of the pre-Mesoarchean rocks of the Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa: Marc Poujol 21. An overview of the geology of the Barberton greenstone belt and vicinity: Implications for early crustal development: Don Lowe and Gary Byerly 22. Volcanology of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa: inflation and evolution of flow fields: Jesse Dann and Timothy L. Grove 23. Silicified basalts, bedded cherts and other sea floor alteration phenomena of the > 3.4 Ga Nondweni greenstone belt, South Africa: Axel Hoffman and Allan Wilson 24. TTG plutons of the Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain, South Africa: Jean-François Moyen, Gary Stevens, Alexander F.M. Kisters, Richard W. Belcher 25. Metamorphism in the Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain: A record of Earth's earliest accretionary orogen: Gary Stevens and Jean-François Moyen 26. Tectono-metamorphic controls on Archaean gold mineralisation in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa: An example from the New Consort gold mine: Annika Dziggel, Alexander Otto, Alexander F. M. Kisters, and F. Michael Meyer

Chapter 6: Paleoarchean Gneiss Terranes 27. The Ancient Gneiss Complex of Swaziland and environs: Record of early Archean crustal evolution in southern Africa: Alfred Kroner 28. Paleoarchean gneisses in the Minnesota River Valley and northern Michigan, USA: Marion E. Bickford, Joseph L. Wooden, Robert L. Bauer, and Mark D. Schmitz 29. The Assean Lake Complex: Ancient crust at the northwestern margin of the Superior Craton, Manitoba, Canada: Christian O. Böhm, Russell P. Hartlaub and Larry M. Heaman 30. Oldest rocks of the Wyoming Craton: Kevin R. Chamberlain and Paul A. Mueller 31. Oldest rock assemblages of the Siberian Craton: Oleg M. Rosen and O. M. Turkina

Chapter 7: Life on Early Earth 32. Searching for Earth's earliest life in southern West Greenland: History, current status, and future prospects: Martin J. Whitehouse and Christopher M. Fedo 33. Geological settings of putative Paleoarchean life in the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Martin J. Van Kranendonk 34. Stable carbon and sulphur isotope geochemistry of the c. 3490 Ma Dresser Formation hydrothermal deposit, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Yuichiro Ueno 35. Organic geochemistry of Archean carbonaceous cherts from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Craig Marshall 36. Sulphur on the early Earth: Steven J. Mojzsis 37. The marine carbonate and chert isotope records and their implications for tectonics, life and climate on the early Earth: Graham A. Shields

Chapter 8: Tectonics on early Earth 38. Venus: A thin-lithosphere analog for early Earth?: Vickie L. Hansen 39. The earliest subcontinental lithospheric mantle: W.L. Griffin and Suzanne Y. O'Reilly 40. The role of mantle plumes in the formation of continental crust on ancient to modern Earth: Franco Pirajno 41. Early Archean asteroid impacts on Earth: Stratigraphic and isotopic age correlations and possible geodynamic consequences: Andrew Glikson 42. Eo- to Mesoarchean terranes of the Superior Province and their tectonic context: John A. Percival 43. Tectonics of early Earth: Martin J. Van Kranendonk


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© Elsevier Science 2007
24th September 2007
Elsevier Science
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About the Editors

Martin Van Kranendonk

Prof. van Kranendonk was born and trained in Canada, receiving his PhD in 1992 and then undertaking a post-doc position at the Geological Survey of Canada from 1992-1994. In 1994, he moved to Australia as an ARC post-doctoral fellow at the University of Newcastle, where he commenced research on the Pilbara. He then joined the Geological Survey of Western Australia in 1997, where he worked for 15 years until the start of 2012, when he accepted a position as Professor of Geology at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia, where he is the Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology. Prof. van Kranendonk is a leading world expert on the early Earth. His main interests are Archean tectonics and the geological setting of early life on Earth. He has appeared on numerous television and radio documentaries on early Earth, and has been involved in educational outreach programs for school children and the general public.

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales Sydney, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia

Vickie Bennett

Professor Bennett is a geochemist at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. She received her PhD in 1989 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and then moved to Australia to begin a post-doctoral fellow position at RSES the same year. As part of the “First Billion Years” project she began collaborative investigations of the oldest rocks in Western Australia and southwest Greenland. In 2000 she became the first tenured female faculty member and is currently Associate Director and Head of the Isotope Geochemistry Group at RSES. Prof. Bennett is an international expert on the geochemistry of the early Earth, particularly as applied to understanding the formation and chemical evolution of the crust and mantle and the origin and development of the oldest continents.

Affiliations and Expertise

Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia

Hugh Smithies

Affiliations and Expertise

Australian National University, Canberra

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