News & Events

Understanding Earth’s lithosphere dynamics 2 billion years ago

Date/Time: 
Friday, September 3, 2021 - 03:00 to 04:00
Venue: 
Online via zoom
Speaker: 
Dr. Priyadarshi Chowdhury
Affiliation: 
Monash University, Australia

Continents, plate tectonics and life make our Earth unique in the solar system and perhaps, in the entire universe (at least, so far). However, none of them was present when  the planet formed some 4.56 billion years ago (Ga). Therefore, understanding how, when, and why they appeared is critical to understand planetary evolution and habitability. My work directly deals with these questions. For the past few years, I am working on elucidating in what form plate tectonics appeared on the early Earth (> 2 Ga) and what imprints it left on the different system components of the planet (e.g., crust-mantle, hydrosphere, atmosphere etc.). I find answers to these questions by integrating the classical approaches ofsolid Earth geology (field geology and petrology) with the novel methods like diffusion modelling of micron-scale compositional zonings in minerals to unravel geological timescales  (diffusion chronometry) and numerical modelling of large-scale tectonics (100s-1000s of km). So far, my studies have revealed that plate tectonics processes were substantially different > 2 Ga  from their modern nature and, for the first time, showed how timescales of large-scale processes can help us identify it from the natural rock record. In particular, I proposed a new style of continent-continent collision (called peel-back orogenesis) for that time period, which is found to have massive implications for building continents and driving the rise of O2 in the atmosphere.

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