The Precambrian Earth

The Precambrian Earth

Tempos and Events

1st Edition - March 4, 2004

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  • Editors: P.G. Eriksson, Wladyslaw Altermann, D.R. Nelson, W.U. Mueller, O. Catuneanu, Octavian Catuneanu
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444515063
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080542591

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In this book the editors strive to cover all primary (i.e. non-applied) topics in Precambrian geology in a non-partisan way, by using a large team of international authors to present their datasets and highly divergent viewpoints. The chapters address: celestial origins of Earth and succeeding extraterrestrial impact events; generation of continental crust and the greenstone-granite debate; the interaction of mantle plumes and plate tectonics over Precambrian time; Precambrian volcanism, emphasising komatiite research; evolution and models for Earth's hydrosphere and atmosphere; evolution of life and its influence on Precambrian ocean chemistry and chemical sedimentation; sedimentation through Precambrian time; the application of sequence stratigraphy to the Precambrian rock record. Each topic is introduced and a non-partisan closing commentary provided at the end of each chapter. The final chapter blends the major geological events and rates at which important processes occurred into a synthesis, which postulates a number of "event clusters" in the Precambrian when significant changes occurred in many natural systems and geological environments. Also available in paperback, ISBN: 0-444-51509-7

Table of Contents

  • Preface (W.U. Mueller, W. Altermann et al.).
    1. The Early Earth (D.R. Nelson).
    1.1 Introduction (D.R. Nelson). 1.2 Earth's formation and first billion years (D.R. Nelson). 1.3 The early Precambrian stratigraphic record of large extraterrestrial impacts (B.M. Simonson, G.R. Byerly, D.R. Lowe). 1.4 Strategies for finding the record of Archaean impact events (D.H. Abbott, J.T. Hagstrum). 1.5 Commentary (D.R. Nelson).
    2. Generation of Continental Crust (D.R. Nelson, W.U. Mueller).
    2.1 Introduction (W.U. Mueller, D.R. Nelson). 2.2 Isua enigmas: illusive tectonic, sedimentary, volcanic and organic features of the >3.7 Ga Isua greenstone belt, southwest Greenland (J.S. Myers). 2.3 Geochemical diversity in volcanic rocks of the >3.7 Ga Isua greenstone belt, southern West Greenland: implications for mantle composition and geodynamic processes (A. Polat, A.W. Hofmann, P.W.U. Appel). 2.4 Abitibi greenstone belt plate tectonics: the diachronous history of arc development, accretion and collision (R. Daigneault, W.U. Mueller, E.H. Chown). 2.5 Granite formation and emplacement as indicators of Archaean tectonic processes (T.E. Zegers). 2.6 Diapiric processes in the formation of Archaean continental crust, East Pilbara granite-greenstone terrane, Australia (A.H. Hickman, M.J. Van Kranendonk). 2.7 Early Archaean crustal collapse structures and sedimentary basin dynamics (W. Nijman, S.T. de Vries). 2.8 Crustal growth rates (N.T. Arndt). 2.9 Commentary (D.R. Nelson, W.U. Mueller).
    3. Tectonism and Mantle Plumes through Time (P.G. Eriksson, O. Catuneanu).
    3.1 Introduction (P.G. Eriksson, O. Catuneanu). 3.2 Precambrian superplume events (K.C. Condie). 3.3 Large igneous province record through time (R.E. Ernst, K.L. Buchan, A. Prokoph). 3.4 Episodic crustal growth during catastrophic global-scale mantle overturn events (D.R. Nelson). 3.5 An unusual Palaeoproterozoic magmatic event, the ultrapotassic Christopher Island Formation, Baker Lake Group, Nunavat, Canada: Archaean mantle metasomatism and Palaeoproterozoic mantle (B.L. Cousens, J.R. Chiarenzelli, L.B. Aspler). 3.6 A commentary on Precambrian plate tectonics (P.G. Eriksson, O. Catuneanu). 3.7 Precambrian ophiolites (J.R. Chiarenzelli, E.M. Moores). 3.8 The Limpopo belt of southern Africa: a Neoarchaean to Palaeoproterozoic orogen (A.J. Bumby, R. van der Merwe). 3.9 Geodynamic crustal evolution and long-lived supercontinents during the Palaeoproterozoic: evidence from granulite-gneiss belts, collisional and accretionary orogens (M.V. Mints, A.N. Konilov). 3.10 Formation of a late Mesoproterozoic supercontinent: the South Africa-East Antarctica connection (H.E. Frimmel). 3.11 A mechanism for explaining rapid continental motion in the late Neoproterozoic (J.G. Meert, E. Tamrat). 3.12 Commentary (P.G. Eriksson, O. Catuneanu).
    4. Precambrian Volcanism: an independent Variable through Time (W.U. Mueller).
    4.1 Introduction (W.U. Mueller, P.C. Thurston). 4.2 Terminology of volcaniclastic and volcanic rocks (W.U. Mueller and J.D.L. White). 4.3 Komatiites: volcanology, geochemistry and textures. 4.3.1 Physical volcanology of komatiites (W.U. Mueller). 4.3.2 Komatiite geochemistry (J. Dostal, W.U. Mueller). 4.3.3 Textures in komatiites and variolitic basalts (N.T. Arndt, A.D. Fowler). 4.4 Archaean and Proterozoic greenstone belts: setting and evolution (P.C. Thurston, L.D. Ayres). 4.5 Explosive subaqueous volcanism (J.D.L. White). 4.6 Archaean calderas (W.U. Mueller, J. Stix et al.). 4.7 Commentary (W.U. Mueller).
    5. Evolution of the Hydrosphere and Atmosphere (P.G. Eriksson, W. Altermann).
    5.1 Introduction (P.G. Eriksson, W. Altermann). 5.2 The Archaean atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere (H. Ohmoto). 5.3 The evolution of the Precambrian atmosphere: carbon isotopic evidence from the Australian continent (J.F. Lindsay, M.D. Brasier). 5.4 Precambrian iron-formation (A.F. Trendall, J.G. Blockley). 5.5 The Precambrian sulphur isotope record of evolving atmospheric oxygen (T.W. Lyons, L.C. Kah, A.M. Gellatly). 5.6 Earth's two great Precambrian glaciations: aftermath of the "snowball Earth" hypothesis (G.M. Young). 5.7 The paradox of Proterozoic glaciomarine deposition, open seas and strong seasonality near the palaeo-equator: global implications (G.E. Williams). 5.8 Neoproterozoic sedimentation rates and timing of glaciations - a southern African perspective (H.E. Frimmel). 5.9 Earth's Precambrian rotation and the evolving lunar orbit: implications of tidal rhythmite data for palaeogeophysics (G.E. Williams). 5.10 Ancient climatic and tectonic settings inferred from palaeosols developed on igneous rocks (H.W. Nesbitt, G.M. Young). 5.11 Aggressive Archaean weathering (P.L. Corcoran, W.U. Mueller). 5.12 Commentary (P.G. Eriksson, W. Altermann).
    6. Evolution of Life and Precambrian Bio-Geology (W. Altermann).
    6.1 Introduction (W. Altermann). 6.2 Earth's earliest biosphere: status of the hunt (J.W. Schopf). 6.3 Evolving life and its effect on Precambrian sedimentation (W. Altermann). 6.4 Microbial origin of Precambrian carbonates: lessons from modern analogues (J. Kazmierczak, S. Kempe, W. Altermann). 6.5 Precambrian stromatolites: problems in definition, classification, morphology and stratigraphy (W. Altermann). 6.6 Precambrian geology and exobiology (F. Westall). 6.7 Commentary (W. Altermann).
    7. Sedimentation through Time (P.G. Eriksson).
    7.1 Introduction (P.G. Eriksson, A.J. Bumby, M. Popa). 7.2 Sedimentary structures: an essential key for interpreting the Precambrian rock record (J.A. Donaldson, L.B. Aspler, J.R. Chiarenzelli). 7.3 Archaean sedimentary sequences (P.L. Corcoran, W.U. Mueller). 7.4 Discussion of selected techniques and problems in the field mapping and interpretation of Archaean clastic metasedimentary rocks of the Superior Province, Canada (J.R. Devaney). 7.5 Precambrian tidalites: recognition and significance (K.A. Eriksson, E.L. Simpson). 7.6 Sedimentary dynamics of Precambrian aeolianites (E.L. Simpson, F.F. Alkmim et al.). 7.7 Early Precambrian epeiric seas (P.G. Eriksson, A.J. Bumby, P. Mostert). 7.8 Precambrian rivers (D.G.F. Long). 7.9 Microbial mats in the siliciclastic rock record: a summary of diagnostic features (J. Schieber). 7.10 Microbial mat features in sandstones illustrated (S. Sarkar, S. Banerjee, P.G. Eriksson). 7.11 Sedimentation rates (P.G. Eriksson, P.K. Bose et al.). 7.12 Commentary (P.G. Eriksson, M.A. Martins-Neto).
    8. Sequence Stratigraphy and the Precambrian (O. Catuneanu).
    8.1 Introduction (A.F. Embry, O. Catuneanu, P.G. Eriksson). 8.2 Concepts of sequence stratigraphy (O. Catuneanu, A.F. Embry, P.G. Eriksson). 8.3 Development and sequences of the Athabasca basin, Early Proterozoic, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada (P. Ramaekers, O. Catuneanu). 8.4 Third-order sequence stratigraphy in the Palaeoproterozoic Daspoort Formation (Pretoria Group, Transvaal Supergroup), Kaapvaal craton (P.G. Eriksson, O. Catuneanu). 8.5 Commentary (O. Catuneanu, P.G. Eriksson).
    9. Synthesis (P.G. Eriksson, O. Catuneanu et al.).
    9.1 Evolution of the solar system and the early Earth. 9.2 Generation of continental crust. 9.3 Tectonism and mantle plumes through time. 9.4 Precambrian volcanism, an independent variable. 9.5 Evolution of the hydrosphere and atmosphere. 9.6 Evolution of Precambrian life and bio-geology. 9.7 Sedimentation regimes through time. 9.8 Sequence stratigraphy through time. 9.9 Tempos and events in Precambrian time.

Product details

  • No. of pages: 966
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier Science 2004
  • Published: March 4, 2004
  • Imprint: Elsevier Science
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780444515063
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080542591

About the Editors

P.G. Eriksson

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Pretoria, South Africa

Wladyslaw Altermann

Affiliations and Expertise

Ludwigs-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany

D.R. Nelson

Affiliations and Expertise

Geological Survey of Western Australia, East Perth, WA, Australia

W.U. Mueller

Affiliations and Expertise

Sciences de la Terre, Université du Québec, Chicoutimi, Québec, Canada

O. Catuneanu

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Octavian Catuneanu

Octavian Catuneanu
Octavian Catuneanu is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, with PhD degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of Bucharest. He is the recipient of several distinctions in the field of Geology, including the W.W. Hutchison Medal of the Geological Association of Canada for exceptional advances in earth science research, and best paper awards from the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the Geological Society of America, and the Romanian Academy of Sciences. Octavian Catuneanu served as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology, Chair of the Task Group on Sequence Stratigraphy of the International Subcommission on Stratigraphic Classification, Chair of the North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature, and member of the editorial board of several journals in North America, Europe, and Africa. He is the editor of several books and special issues, author of numerous publications in the fields of sedimentology, stratigraphy, and basin analysis, and instructor of sequence stratigraphy and related disciplines for universities, conferences, and companies worldwide. The first edition of his “Principles of Sequence Stratigraphy” textbook (Elsevier, 2006) received the 2007 “Outstanding Academic Title” Choice Award from the American Library Association and remains a best-selling title.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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