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The Making of the Earth – Reading the Geochemical Code from Meteorites and the Earth’s Oldest Rocks

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - INFANT EARTH (The Making of the Earth – Reading the Geochemical Code from Meteorites and the Earth’s Oldest Rocks)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-02-29

How Earth could develop towards a habitable, rocky planet is still an open question. The proposed study will provide a major advance in constraining the origin of Earth and its building blocks by systematically combining information from extraterrestrial samples and the Earth’s oldest rocks at an unprecedented level. Due to the absence of sufficiently old rocks on Earth, our knowledge on the Earth’s first few 100 million years is patchy, and what is known relies on indirect geochemical observations, namely studies of extraterrestrial samples and studies on the Earth’s oldest rocks. To shed more light on the Earth’s dark ages, this project is developing new, ground breaking analytical methods that are applied to a unique selection of extraterrestrial samples and the Earth’s oldest rock samples, including primary minerals. The new techniques include protocols for isotope and trace element measurements and most of them are applied at an unprecedented level of sensitivity and precision.
The first project phase focused on hiring staff and on getting all projects started. In some cases there were delays, because no suitable staff could be found. Nevertheless, all projects are still within their timeframe. Note that for most projects, our challenging method developments take up to two years. Some method developments have been completed and others are still on their way.
The project is still in an too early stage to make any detailed statements. Generally speaking, the results will provide a major advance in unravelling Earth’s earliest history, thereby expanding our general knowledge about the origin of the Earth.