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Research Collaborations between Trinity College Dublin and Presidency University Expand Understanding of Earth’s Early Evolution

Posted on 12 February 2014

Ongoing collaboration between researchers from Trinity College Dublin and Presidency University in Kolkata, India, are increasing our existing understanding of the evolution of the early Earth. Using samples from the Singhbhum Craton in eastern India, Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor in Trinity’s Department of Geology, Dr Quentin Crowley, is leading the team. They are performing geochemical analyses and radiometric age dating of samples from the Singhbhum Craton, using of a new laser ablation and mass spectrometer system in Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Geology.

Scientists’ current knowledge of the Earth’s early evolution in terms of crustal growth, the development of habitable atmosphere-hydrosphere and the development of biosphere rely upon studies of Archean-Proterozoic rock successions preserved as old cratonic nuclei and their cover sequences. The oldest among these geological terranes date from the Eoarchean Era (>3.6 billion years old) to the Paleoarchean Era (3.6-3.2 billion years old). Although there has been considerable research conducted on several of these fragments of the Earth’s ancient crust, one such sequence has been relatively neglected.  The international research team’s examination of the Singhbhum Craton will help to better understand the early Earth’s evolution and provide important constraints on ancient atmospheric composition directly from the rock record.

Funding for this collaborative project has been provided by both Trinity College Dublin’s Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science’s (FEMS) India Research Scheme, and Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) International Science Cooperation Award (ISCA) Consortium. This exciting new research could lead to major new insights into Earth’s early evolution.