CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

Monitoring Earth Evolution Through Time

Project description

A closer look at Earth’s 4.4 billion years of history

Researchers will take an unprecedented look at the evolution of Earth from 4.4 billion years ago to today, and from the atmosphere to the core. The ERC-funded MEET project will check the evolution of the composition of the mantle, which lies over Earth’s core, and the crust composition. It will study crust formation, crust-mantle recycling, and crust-hydrosphere exchange based on composition of melt inclusions and host-minerals typical for mantle (olivine) and crust (zircon). Merging geodynamic modelling with surface and climate models, the project will further explore the rate of crustal growth and recycling through time, the concentration and origin of H2O and halogens in the deep mantle, and the origin and controls of plate tectonics on Earth.

Objective

Efforts to reconstruct the early Earth evolution lack critical information on the contents of mobile and volatile elements and their isotope signatures in the mantle and crust. Fortunately, this information is preserved in inclusions of melt in relicts of olivine from komatiites and picrites, and zircons from mafic and felsic rocks. In Aim I, we will use compositions and temperatures of primary mantle-derived melts reconstructed from the study of melt inclusions in olivine from komatiites and picrites to constrain the evolution of mantle composition. We will further study crust-formation, crust-mantle recycling, and crust-hydrosphere exchange based on composition of melt inclusions and host zircons. We will analyse a wide range of volatile elements and their isotopes in homogenized melt inclusions and the elemental and isotopic compositions of host olivines and zircons. The samples come from 24 localities of komatiites and picrites originating at different cratons between 3.7 and 0.06 Ga, and detrital and magmatic zircons with ages from 4.4 Ga to present. We will apply published and new models to constrain the temperatures and compositions of mantle and crustal sources. In Aim II, geodynamic modelling will relate our observations to the evolution of mantle convection, crustal production and recycling, and plate tectonics (PT). We will couple geodynamic modelling with surface and climate models and use derived geochemical proxies to test our hypotheses on the importance of surface processes in evolution of PT. We will thus address several fundamental issues: the rate of crustal growth and recycling through time; the cause and timing of the onset of large-scale subduction and PT, and factors controlling its evolution; concentration and origin of H2O and halogens in the deep mantle, and the extent (if any) of core-mantle interaction. MEET will, therefore, offer an unprecedented look at the evolution of Earth from 4.4 Ga to today, and from the atmosphere to the core.

Host institution

UNIVERSITE GRENOBLE ALPES
Net EU contribution
€ 6 348 405,00
Address
621 AVENUE CENTRALE
38058 Grenoble
France

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Region
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Rhône-Alpes Isère
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 6 467 213,13

Beneficiaries (6)