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Sulfur isotopes in diamonds reveal differences in continent construction

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Science  26 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6438, pp. 383-385
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw9548

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Sulfur tells tectonic secrets

Plate tectonics dominates how the surface of Earth is shaped over geologic time; however, we do not know when this important process started on Earth. Smit et al. used sulfur isotopes in diamonds to show that atmospheric sulfur was entering the mantle 3 billion years ago through plate subduction. Older diamonds do not have this signature, constraining when plate tectonics started on Earth to around 3 billion years ago.

Science, this issue p. 383

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