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How continents formed on Earth

Washington, Sept. 17 : Researchers have provided a new insight on how continents formed early in Earth history.


A research led by a University of Calgary geophysicist provided strong evidence against continent formation above a hot mantle plume, similar to an environment that presently exists beneath the Hawaiian Islands.

The analysis indicates that the nuclei of Earth's continents formed as a byproduct of mountain-building processes, by stacking up slabs of relatively cold oceanic crust, which created thick, strong 'keels' in the Earth's mantle that supported the overlying crust and enabled continents to form.

The Department of Geoscience's Professor David Eaton developed computer software to enable numerical simulation of the slow diffusive cooling of Earth's mantle over a time span of billions of years.

Working in collaboration with former graduate student, Assistant Professor Claire Perry from the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Eaton relied on the geological record of diamonds found in Africa to validate his innovative computer simulations.

The study has been published in Nature Geoscience.

--ANI (Posted on 17-09-2013)

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