GFZ German research centre for geo sciences

Dynamics of Early Earth and Evolution of Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics is the most important geological process on Earth, shaping its surface, and making it unique among the planets in the Solar System. Yet, how plate tectonics (PT) emerged on Earth, which tectonic regime was before and which factors controlled evolution of plate tectonics in the Earth history remain controversial. We address these questions in the framework of the international ERC Synergy Grant Project MEET (Monitoring of Earth Evolution through Time). We will employ physics-based modelling to quantify the exchange and recycling from the deep-Earth to the surface.

Our team will use new geochemical and petrological data provided by Grenoble and Madison teams of MEET Project to test new ideas for how the Earth’s tectonic processes have evolved over 4400 million years. In particular, the GFZ team in cooperation with PIK will develop a new class of Earth System models that will combine models of mantle convection, plate tectonics, surface erosion and climate to test their hypothesis about important role of surface processes in controlling the emergence and evolution of plate tectonics, recently published in the scientific journal Nature (Sobolev and Brown, 2019).

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