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Ancient crystals suggest Earth’s crust enjoyed growth spurt 3 billion years ago

Ancient crystals suggest Earth’s crust enjoyed growth spurt 3 billion years ago

Science
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Ancient crystals recovered from stream sediments in Greenland suggest bits of Earth's primordial crust seeded the growth of later generations of crust. According to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, the process fueled a massive crustal growth three billion years ago. Advertisement Scientists were able identify the origins of the ancient growth spurt by analyzing the chemistry of crystals eroded from ancient rocks. The chemical makeup of the ancient zircon crystals, found among modern stream sediment in Greenland, revealed signatures left their incorporation into younger crustal rocks and sediment during what scientists call lithospheric reworking. "We found there was a widespread bloom in crust production three billion years ago, during ...
Continental growth spurt spurred Earth's first snow, study suggests

Continental growth spurt spurred Earth's first snow, study suggests

Science
May 25 (UPI) -- Scientists believe Earth's first snow fell some 2.4 billion years ago. According to a new study, the flurries arrived as a result of a continental growth spurt. The link between rising coastal elevations and the planet's first snowflakes -- detailed this week in the journal Nature -- was revealed by isotopic analysis of 278 shale samples, collected from all over the world. Shale, formed by the weathering of the planet's crust, is Earth's most abundant sedimentary rock. The chemical composition of shale samples can reveal details about its exposure to air, light and precipitation. "The process of forming shale captures organic products and eventually helps to generate oil," University of Oregon geologist Ilya Bindeman said in a news release. "Shales provide us with a conti...