Earth's Oldest Rocks

Earth's Oldest Rocks

2nd Edition - September 26, 2018

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  • Editors: Martin van Kranendonk, Vickie Bennett, Elis Hoffmann
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780444639011
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444639028

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Earth’s Oldest Rocks, Second Edition, is the only single reference source for geological research of early Earth. This new edition is an up-to-date collection of scientific articles on all aspects of the early history of the Earth, from planetary accretion at 4.567 billion years ago (Ga), to the onset of modern-style plate tectonics at 3.2 Ga. Since the first edition was published, significant new advances have been made in our understanding of events and processes on early Earth that correspond with new advances in technology. The book includes contributions from over 100 authors, all of whom are experts in their respective fields. The research in this reference concentrates on what is directly gleaned from the existing rock record to understand how our planet formed and evolved during the planetary accretion phase, formation of the first crust, the changing dynamics of the mantle and style of tectonics, life’s foothold and early development, and mineral deposits. It is an ideal resource for academics, students and the general public alike.

Key Features

  • Advances in early Earth research since 2007 based primarily on evidence gleaned directly from the rock record
  • More than 50% of the chapters in this edition are new and the rest of the chapters are revised from the first edition, with more than 700 pages of new material
  • Comprehensive reviews of areas of ancient lithosphere from all over the world, and of crust-forming processes
  • New chapters on early solar system materials, composition of the ancient atmosphere-hydrosphere, and overviews of the oldest evidence of life on Earth, and modeling of early Earth tectonics


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

Table of Contents

  • Preface: Aims, scope, and outline of the book
      Martin Julian Van Kranendonk, Vickie Bennett and J. Elis Hoffmann

    Section 1: Getting started
    1. Early solar system materials, processes, and chronology
      Yuri Amelin
    2. Origin of the Earth and the Late Heavy Bombardment
      Marc Norman
    3. Early Earth atmosphere and oceans
      James Kasting

    Section 2: Overviews of Early Earth processes
    4. Modelling early Earth tectonics: The case for stagnant lid behaviour in Early Earth
      Craig O'Neill
    5. The earliest subcontinental lithospheric mantle
      Bill Griffin
    6. Distribution and geochemistry of komatiites and basalts through the Archean
      Stephen J. Barnes and Nick Arndt
    7. The formation of tonalites-trondjhemites-granodiorites and of the early continental crust
      J. Elis Hoffmann, Zhang, JF Moyen, and Nagel
    8.  Early Archean asteroid impacts on Earth: Stratigraphic and isotopic age correlations and possible geodynamic consequences
      Alexandra Krull Davatzes and Steven Goderis
    9. Palaeoarchean (3.6-3.2Ga) mineral systems in the context of continental crust building and the role of mantle plumes
      Franco Pirajno and David L. Huston
    10. Origin of Paleoarchean sulfate deposits
      Pascal Philippot

    Section 3: The most ancient remnants
    11. Earth’s Oldest Rocks and Minerals
      Kent Condie
    12. The oldest terrestrial mineral record: Thirty years of research on Hadean zircon from Jack Hills, Western Australia
      Aaron J. Cavosie
    13. Evidence of Hadean to Paleoarchean crust in the Youanmi and Southwest terranes, and Eastern Goldfields Superterrane of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia
      Stephen Wyche, Yongjun Lu and Michael T.D. Wingate
    14. Hadean to Paleoarchean rocks and zircons in China
      Yusheng Wan, Liu D, Xie H, Alfred Kröner, Wilde Alexander Simon, Dong Chunyan, Shoujie Liu, Shiwen Xie and Mingzhu Ma
    15. The Acasta Gneiss Complex
      Jesse R. Reimink
    16. The Nuvvuagittuq greenstone belt: A glimpse of Earth’s earliest crust
      Jonathan O'Neil
    17. The 3.9-3.6 Ga Itsaq Gneiss Complex of Greenland: Quasi-uniformitarian geodynamics towards the end of Earth’s first billion years
      Allen Nutman
    18. The Narryer Terrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia: review and recent developments
      Tony Ivan Kemp

    Section 4: Well-preserved granitoid-greenstone terrains
    19. Paleoarchean development of a continental nucleus: the East Pilbara Terrane of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia
      Martin Julian Van Kranendonk, R. Hugh Smithies and David C. Champion
    20. 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 and Martin Julian Van Kranendonk
    21. Geochemistry of Paleoarchean granites of the East Pilbara Terrane, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: implications for early Archean crustal growth
      David C. Champion
    22. Palaeoarchaean mineral deposits of the Pilbara Craton: genesis, tectonic environment and comparisons with younger deposits
      David L. Huston and Franco Pirajno
    23. Early Archean crustal evolution in southern Africa - an updated record of the Ancient Gneiss Complex of Swaziland
      J. Elis Hoffmann and Alfred Kröner
    24. Geology of the Barberton Greenstone Belt — A unique record of crustal development, surface processes, and early life 3.55 to 3.2 Ga
      Gary R. Byerly, Donald R. Lowe and Christoph Heubeck
    25. TTG plutons of the Barberton granitoid-greenstone terrain, southern Africa
      JF 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

    Section 5: Filling the gaps
    27. Paleoarchean gneisses in the Minnesota River Valley and northern Michigan, USA
      Marion Bickford
    28. The Assean Lake Complex: Ancient crust at the northwestern margin of the Superior Craton, Manitoba, Canada
      Christian O. Böhm
    29. Oldest rocks of the Wyoming Craton
      Kevin R. Chamberlain and Paul A. Mueller
    30. Early crustal evolution as recorded in the granitoids of the Singhbhum and western Dharwar cratons, India
      Sukanta Dey
    31. Palaeoarchaean crustal evolution of the Bundelkhand Craton, north-central India
      Lopamundra Saha
    32. Paleoarchean rocks in the Fennoscandian Shield
      Pentti Sakari Hölttä
    33. Archean crustal evolution in the Ukrainian shield
      Stefan Claesson, Gennadiy Vladimirovich Artemenko, Светлана V. Bogdanova and Leonid Shumlyanskyy
    34. The Palaeoarchaean record of the Zimbabwe Craton
      Axel Hofmann
    35.  Ancient Antarctica: The Archean of the East Antarctic Shield
      Simon Harley

    Section 6: Life
    36. Implications of carbonate and chert isotope records for the early Earth
      Graham A. Shields
    37. Archean cherts: formation processes and paleo-environments
      Morgane Marine Ledevin
    38. The significance of carbonaceous matter to understanding life processes on early Earth
      Mark Adriaan Van Zuilen
    39. Eoarchean Life from the Isua supracrustal belt (Greenland)
      Allen Nutman
    40. Depositional setting of the fossiliferous, c. 3480 Ma Dresser Formation, Pilbara Craton: A review
      Martin Julian Van Kranendonk
    41. Early Archean (pre-3.0 Ga) cellularly-preserved microfossils and microfossil-like structures from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia — A review
      Kenichiro Sugitani
    42. Traces of early Life from the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa
      Keyron Hickman-Lewis, Frances Westall and Barbara Cavalazzi

Product details

  • No. of pages: 1112
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2018
  • Published: September 26, 2018
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780444639011
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444639028

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

Elis Hoffmann

Dr. Hoffmann was born in Germany. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from University of Münster (Germany) and his Ph.D. degree in 2011 from University of Bonn (Germany). After post-doc positions at the Universities of Bonn, Cologne and Berlin, he accepted a lecturer and lab manager position at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). He was mapping geologist for the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) during several field seasons in the Archean of western Greenland between 2005 and 2007. He carried out field work in the eastern Kaapvaal craton and in the Isua region of Greenland. He is an expert in Archean geology, where his specialty is in combining field geology and advanced analytical techniques in the field of isotope and trace element geochemistry, petrology and geochemical modelling to place constraints on the evolution of the early continental crust and the Archaean mantle.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Earth’s Sciences, Geochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, 12249 Berlin, Germany

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    Earth's oldest rocks

    Earth's oldest rocks

  • jose e. Thu Nov 22 2018