Monday, March 25, 2019 - 12:00pm
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Haller Hall (102), Geo Museum, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

EPS Colloquium

The Department of Earth & Planetary welcomes Nadja Drabon, Stanford University, who will present "New Insights into Hadean Crustal Diversity and Continent Formation Revealed by Zircon Geochemistry."

Abstract: Surface conditions on Earth were initially hostile as the planet was covered by a magma ocean and frequently struck by giant meteorites. The questions of when and how the first solid crust evolved and when the first continents emerged remain unanswered. Most of our knowledge about the pre-4.0 Ga Earth originates from detrital zircons from a single area, the Jack Hills and Mt. Narryer region in Western Australia. The discovery of a new site in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, that has yielded Hadean detrital zircons as old as 4.2 Ga has made it possible to examine the evolution of the early Earth through a second lens.

Overall, the geochemistry of the South African Hadean zircons reveals two distinct populations recording a compositionally diverse Hadean crustal source. Both zircon populations show enriched compositions and were not derived from a depleted mantle source. Furthermore, the geochemistry of the Hadean zircons is distinct from that of zircons from Phanerozoic continental crust, indicating either that fully-formed Phanerozoic-style continental crust was not present in the Hadean source or that Hadean continental crust formed through different tectonic processes. Future research on these minerals will lead to important insights regarding crustal evolution on the early Earth.

Short Bio: Nadja Drabon is a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University working with Prof. Donald Lowe. She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University and her B.S. from the Free University of Berlin, Germany. Her research focuses on the crustal conditions, nature of tectonic uplifts, and evolution of sedimentary systems in the Precambrian. She integrates stratigraphic, provenance and geochemical analyses with detailed knowledge of complex geology at outcrop to basin scales.

Contact Name: 

Summer Smith

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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