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4.5 Billion Year Old Volcanic Material Can Throw Light On Earth’s Formation

First Posted: May 17, 2016 06:36 AM EDT
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Volcanic material found separately in the Solomon Islands as well as the Baffin Island in Canada may reportedly throw more light on the history of our planet. The volcanic debris was thrown out around 4.5 billion years ago, which makes it only 50 million years younger than the solar system.

According to a press release by University of Maryland, scientists believe that the volcanic material could provide some valuable clues into the earliest days of the Earth and how it was born, and subsequently give more insight into the intricacies of the different processes that took place when our planet was being formed.

The researching team of scientists feels this is the first clear sign that portions of the Earth's primordial mantle still exist until now, in spite of being created during the planet's primary accretion period. Experts believe that our planet became its present size due to the accretion of materials from collisions with larger bodies over duration of tens of millions of years. In fact, according to researchers, the moon also formed through a process like this when a slightly smaller planetoid collided with a very young Earth.

The primeval volcanic material was found in Solomon Island's Ontong-Java Plateau and Canada's Baffin Island in comparatively young flood basalts, calculated to be around 60 and 120 million years old.  However, in spite of their youth the molten material that created them had roots going back to over 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists have speculated that the gap in timeline, between the volcanic material and the basalt where it was found, can be credited to the separate history of iron separation for the lava originating part of the Earth's mantle from other mantle parts.

An analysis of the volcanic material revealed an isotope of tungsten as one of its key features, and the element was present during the creation of the Solar System but was no longer thought to exist on Earth. As per reports, further research of the two "birthmarks" will throw more light into the history of our planet's creation.

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