PerspectiveGeophysics

Oceanic Crust When Earth Was Young

Science  11 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5519, pp. 1076-1079
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061081

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Summary

Oceanic crust covers two-thirds of Earth's rigid outer layer, and this was probably already the case during the Archean (over 2500 million years ago), when heat flow from Earth's interior was much higher than today. It is believed that oceanic crust generated in the Archean differed from that produced today, but evidence has been hard to come by. In his Perspective, Karson highlights a report by Kusky et al., who have found the best candidate for Archean oceanic crust to date. This ophiolite complex appears to include a complete section of ancient submarine lavas to upper mantle material. It may allow some of the ideas regarding Archean tectonics and the ancient mid-ocean ridge biosphere to be tested.