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

Earth's Oldest Rocks

1st Edition

eBook ISBN: 9780080552477
Hardcover ISBN: 9780444528100
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


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

Chapter 1: Introduction

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

Chapter 2: Planetary accretion and the Hadean to Eoarchaean Earth - Building the Foundation

  1. The formation of the Earth and Moon: Stuart Ross Taylor
  2. Early solar system materials, processes, and chronology: Alex W.R. Bevan
  3. Dynamics of the Hadean and Archean Mantle: Geoff Davies
  4. The enigma of the terrestrial protocrust: Evidence for its former existence and the importance of its complete disappearance: Balz Kamber
  5. 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
  6. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Ancient Antarctica: The Archean of the East Antarctic Shield: Simon L. Harley and Nigel M. Kelly
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. The Narryer Terrane, Western Australia: A review: Simon A. Wilde and Catherine Spaggiari

Chapter 4: The Paleoarchean Pilbara Craton, Western Australia

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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

  1. An overview of the pre-Mesoarchean rocks of the Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa: Marc Poujol
  2. An overview of the geology of the Barberton greenstone belt and vicinity: Implications for early crustal development: Don Lowe and Gary Byerly
  3. Volcanology of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa: inflation and evolution of flow fields: Jesse Dann and Timothy L. Grove
  4. 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
  5. TTG plutons of the Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain, South Africa: Jean-François Moyen, Gary Stevens, Alexander F.M. Kisters, Richard W. Belcher
  6. Metamorphism in the Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain: A record of Earth's earliest accretionary orogen: Gary Stevens and Jean-François Moyen
  7. 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

  1. The Ancient Gneiss Complex of Swaziland and environs: Record of early Archean crustal evolution in southern Africa: Alfred Kroner
  2. Paleoarchean gneisses in the Minnesota River Valley and northern Michigan, USA: Marion E. Bickford, Joseph L. Wooden, Robert L. Bauer, and Mark D. Schmitz
  3. 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
  4. Oldest rocks of the Wyoming Craton: Kevin R. Chamberlain and Paul A. Mueller
  5. Oldest rock assemblages of the Siberian Craton: Oleg M. Rosen and O. M. Turkina

Chapter 7: Life on Early Earth

  1. Searching for Earth's earliest life in southern West Greenland: History, current status, and future prospects: Martin J. Whitehouse and Christopher M. Fedo
  2. Geological settings of putative Paleoarchean life in the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Martin J. Van Kranendonk
  3. Stable carbon and sulphur isotope geochemistry of the c. 3490 Ma Dresser Formation hydrothermal deposit, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Yuichiro Ueno
  4. Organic geochemistry of Archean carbonaceous cherts from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Craig Marshall
  5. Sulphur on the early Earth: Steven J. Mojzsis
  6. 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

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


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