Navigation Links
New understanding of terrestrial formation has significant and far reaching future implications

The current theory of continental drift provides a good model for understanding terrestrial processes through history. However, while plate tectonics is able to successfully shed light on processes up to 3 billion years ago, the theory isn't sufficient in explaining the dynamics of the earth and crust formation before that point and through to the earliest formation of planet, some 4.6 billion years ago. This is the conclusion of Tomas Naraa of the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, a part of the University of Copenhagen. His new doctoral dissertation has just been published by the esteemed international scientific journal, Nature.

"Using radiometric dating, one can observe that the Earth's oldest continents were created in geodynamic environments which were markedly different than current environments characterised by plate tectonics. Therefore, plate tectonics as we know it today is not a good model for understanding the processes at play during the earliest episodes of the Earths's history, those beyond 3 billion years ago. There was another crust dynamic and crust formation that occurred under other processes," explains Tomas Nraa, who has been a PhD student at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland GEUS.

Plate tectonics is a theory of continental drift and sea floor spreading. A wide range of phenomena from volcanism, earthquakes and undersea earthquakes (and pursuant tsunamis) to variations in climate and species development on Earth can be explained by the plate tectonics model, globally recognized during the 1960's. Tomas Nraa can now demonstrate that the half-century old model no longer suffices.

"Plate tectonics theory can be applied to about 3 billion years of the Earth's history. However, the Earth is older, up to 4.567 billion years old. We can now demonstrate that there has been a significant shift in the Earth's dynamics. Thus, the Earth, under the first third of its history, developed under conditions other than what can be explained using the plate tectonics model," explains Tomas Nraa. Tomas is currently employed as a project researcher at GEUS.

Central research topic for 30 years

Since 2006, the 40-year-old Tomas Nraa has conducted studies of rocks sourced in the 3.85 billion year-old bedrock of the Nuuk region in West Greenland. Using isotopes of the element hafnium (Hf), he has managed to shed light upon a research topic that has puzzled geologists around the world for 30 years. Nraa's instructor, Professor Minik Rosing of the Natural History Museum of Denmark considers Nraa's dissertation a seminal work:

"We have come to understand the context of the Earth's and continent's origins in an entirely new way. Climate and nutrient cycles which nourish all terrestrial organisms are driven by plate tectonics. So, if the Earth's crust formation was controlled and initiated by other factors, we need to find out what controlled climate and the environments in which life began and evolved 4 billion years ago. This fundamental understanding can be of great significance for the understanding of future climate change," says Minik Rosing, who adds that: "An enormous job waits ahead, and Nraas' dissertation is an epochal step."


Contact: Tomas Naeraa
University of Copenhagen

Related biology news :

1. A trained palate: Understanding complexities of taste, smell could lead to improved diet
2. Zebrafish could hold the key to understanding psychiatric disorders
3. Understanding the RNAi Reagents Market Overlap with Drug Discovery and Therapeutic Development is Critical for Pharmaceutical Leaders
4. Understanding why some people have propensity to disease
5. New data improve understanding of breast cancers multiple varieties
6. New genetically engineered mice aid understanding of incurable neuromuscular disease
7. Study amplifies understanding of hearing in baleen whales
8. Understanding and treating the cognitive dysfunction of Down syndrome and Alzheimers disease
9. A breakthrough in understanding the biology and treatment of ovarian cancer
10. Understanding how bacteria come back from the dead
11. Shane Ross garners CAREER Award to advance understanding of fluid flows from blood inside the body to oil spills in bodies of water
Post Your Comments:
(Date:9/30/2015)... , Sept. 30, 2015  With nearly 300,000 ... number of new SCIs estimated to reach 12,500 annually, ... Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL) ... in California opening doors to ... of programs and services, notably assistive technology services and ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... SUNNYVALE, Calif. , Sept. 29, 2015 ... technology improves employee productivity while also saving energy ... features such as Low Power Active Mode and embedded ... workplace transformation Fujitsu today shows that ... of new and refreshed models to its enterprise desktop ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... 2015  The monitoring of vital signs, such ... is an essential component of patient assessment. Changes ... in a patient,s condition. However, in general care ... taken during routine observation rounds only once every ... between these observation rounds, the warning signs can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... octubre de 2015 El 8 de octubre, ... récord en el congreso con su declaración acerca del ... Plasma Awareness Week (IPAW), que se celebrará del 11 ... la Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) y ... , Aumentar la concienciación mundial acerca de la donación ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... 2015 LabStyle Innovations Corp. ... today announced its Medical Director, Dr. Moshe Kamar ... 5th EAI International Conference on Wireless Mobile Communication ... in mobile and wireless technologies," the conference will take ... October 14 - 16, 2015. The conference is endorsed ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... ... today that Dr. Srini Srinivasan, has joined the firm as a Premier Expert ... professional stature enable them to bring extraordinary value to the company's clients. ...
(Date:10/11/2015)... ... October 11, 2015 , ... ... has been officially launched and multiple surgeries have been completed with this new ... of the Neuroscience & Spine Center of the Carolinas. The Revolution™ Spinal ...
Breaking Biology Technology: