Scientists have found remnants of ancient magma in the ice and mountains of Greenland. It is one of the few materials dating back 3.6 billion years and may provide additional information about this stage in the formation of the planet.
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, provides additional information about an important period in the formation of the Earth, when hot magma was spread throughout the planet and extended hundreds of kilometers into the interior.
The gradual cooling and crystallization of the magma ocean determined the chemical composition of the Earth’s interior – this was a defining stage in the formation of the structure of our planet and the early atmosphere.
Scientists already knew that striking the planet during the formation of the Earth and the Moon would generate enough energy to melt the interior of our planet. But we know little about the fiery phase of the Earth’s history, because tectonic processes have processed almost all rocks older than 4 billion years.
Researchers have now discovered chemical remnants of the magma ocean in the rocks of southwestern Greenland, which are 3.6 billion years old.
These data support the theory that the Earth was once almost completely melted, after which the planet began to solidify and develop, which regulates its internal structure to this day. Research shows that other rocks on the Earth’s surface may also retain evidence of ancient magmatic oceans.
“We have little opportunity to obtain geological data on the events of the first billion years of Earth’s history. It’s amazing that we can even hold these rocks in our hands, let alone get so many details about the early history of our planet, ”said study participant Helen Williams of the Cambridge Department of Earth Sciences.