Deep recycling in the Earth faster than thought

Aug 10, 2011
These are olivine crystals from Mauna Loa volcano, Hawaii, with a width of less than 1 mm. The brown ovals are solidified, glassy inclusions trapped as droplets of melt by the growing olivine crystal. They contain strontium isotope ratios which are inherited from 500-million-year-old seawater. Credit: Sobolev, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry.

The recycling of the Earth's crust in volcanoes happens much faster than scientists have previously assumed. Rock of the oceanic crust, which sinks deep into the earth due to the movement of tectonic plates, reemerges through volcanic eruptions after around 500 million years. German researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz obtained this result using volcanic rock samples. Previously, geologists thought this process would take about two billion years.

Virtually all of the ocean islands are volcanoes. Several of them, such as Hawaii, originate from the lowest part of the mantle. This geological process is similar to the movement of coloured liquids in a lava lamp: hot rock rises in cylindrical columns, the so-called , from a depth of nearly 3000 kilometres. Near the surface, it melts, because the pressure is reduced, and forms volcanoes. The plume originates from former which early in the Earth's history sank to the bottom of the mantle. Previously, scientists had assumed that this recycling took about two billion years.

The chemical analysis of tiny glassy inclusions in olivine crystals from basaltic lava on Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii has now surprised geologists: the entire recycling process requires at most half a billion years, four times faster than previously thought.

The microscopically small inclusions in the volcanic rock contain trace elements originally dissolved in seawater, and this allows the recycling process to be dated. Before the old ocean crust sinks into the mantle, it soaks up seawater, which leaves tell-tale trace elements in the rock. The age is revealed by the isotopic ratio of strontium which changes with time. Strontium is a chemical element, which occurs in trace amounts in sea water. The isotopes of have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons. Mainz scientists developed a special laser method which allowed the detection of isotopes of strontium in extremely small quantities.

To their surprise, the Max Planck researchers found residues of sea water with an unexpected strontium isotope ratio in the samples, which suggested an age of less than 500 million years for the inclusions. Therefore the rock material forming the Hawaiian basalts must be younger.

"Apparently strontium from has reached deep in the Earth's mantle, and reemerged after only half a billion years, in Hawaiian volcano lavas," says Klaus Peter Jochum, co-author of the publication. "This discovery was a huge surprise for us."

Another surprise for the scientists was the tremendous variation of strontium isotope ratios found in the melt inclusions in olivine from the single lava sample. "This variation is much larger than the known range for all Hawaiian lavas", says Alexander Sobolev. "This finding suggests that the mantle is far more chemically heterogeneous on a small spatial scale than we thought before." This heterogeneity is preserved only by melt inclusions but is completely obliterated in the lavas because of their complete mixing.

Sobolev, Jochum and their colleagues expect to obtain similar results for other volcanoes and therefore be able to determine the recycling age the ocean crust more precisely.

Explore further: NASA provides double vision on Typhoon Matmo

More information: Alexander V. Sobolev, Albrecht W. Hofmann, Klaus Peter Jochum, Dmitry V. Kuzmin & Brigitte Stoll, A young source for the Hawaiian plume, Nature, 10 August 2011

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User comments : 18

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Techno1
1 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2011
the entire recycling process requires at most half a billion years, four times faster than previously thought

***

So, does this means the earth could be as little as 1/4th as old as believed?
IscopeU
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2011
So, if recycling goes faster. That means that tectonic movement should be ( a factor 4) faster. Call me crazy, but ... something is not right here.
emsquared
5 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2011
So, does this means the earth could be as little as 1/4th as old as believed?
...
So, if recycling goes faster. That means that tectonic movement should be ( a factor 4) faster. Call me crazy, but ... something is not right here.

I think it likely just means the flow dynamics of subducted crust and molten core are not fully understood...
IscopeU
1 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2011
So, does this means the earth could be as little as 1/4th as old as believed?
...
So, if recycling goes faster. That means that tectonic movement should be ( a factor 4) faster. Call me crazy, but ... something is not right here.

I think it likely just means the flow dynamics of subducted crust and molten core are not fully understood...


So basically that is what the entire tectonic movement theory is based on. Hence the question.
emsquared
not rated yet Aug 10, 2011
So basically that is what the entire tectonic movement theory is based on.

Yeah, except we can observe, empirically measure, the rate of tectonic movement so I think we can trust that those data are accurate. What you said seems to question one of the two sets of data. What I said was just that one set of data being correct doesn't mean the other is wrong.

Hence my answer.
omatumr
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 10, 2011
Deep recycling in the Earth faster than thought


Not so fast!

Decay products from extinct iodine-129 and plutonium-244, produced during the first 500 million years of Earth's history (0.5 billion years) were reported in fluid CO2 inclusions of olivine xenoliths from the Hawaiian volcano [1] and in high purity CO2-gas from the mantle that is trapped in northern New Mexico and used to produce "Dry Ice" [2].

1. "Noble gases in an Hawaiian xenolith", Nature 257, 778 - 780 (1975):

www.nature.com/na...8b0.html

2. "The xenon record of extinct radioactivities in the Earth," Science 174, 1334-1336 (1971)

http://www.omatum...cord.pdf

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
Techno1
4 / 5 (4) Aug 10, 2011
Omatumr:

Are you for real?

Your "signature"...

You are always getting negative feedback for your comments, but who the hell are you, really?

You're claiming some pretty high credentials there, higher than anyone else I'm aware of on this site would claim...Proof?!
Techno1
2 / 5 (4) Aug 10, 2011
OMG...

You're for real, and yet you get more negatives on here than most other people, probably because I've seen you oppose standard model theories more than most, but goodness...

Sorry you've been treated so poorly here...
omatumr
1 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2011
OMG...

You're for real, and yet you get more negatives on here than most other people, probably because I've seen you oppose standard model theories more than most, but goodness...

Sorry you've been treated so poorly here...


Thanks, Techno1, That's okay.

Reality is not decided by popularity.

Post-modern science is hardly distinguishable from gossip columns.

All is well,
Oliver
shockr
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2011
Omatumr is legit. There's just a lot of pretentious science-column trolls and hecklers who can't stand some people's type of radical thinking.
Shootist
3 / 5 (4) Aug 10, 2011
Why would isotope ages from CO2 mines in New Mexico be necessarily similar to isotope ages from Hawaiian volcanoes?
Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (12) Aug 10, 2011
Are you for real?
Unfortunately. But few of his posts have much contact with reality.

Your "signature"...
Starts with hypocrisy and then is actually accurate. He used to claim he was a professor at the college where he is no longer allowed, long after he had been kicked out. He stopped after I pointed it out but it did take a few tries.

but who the hell are you, really?
Who he claims to be. And more, unfortunately. And less, most of the stuff has not been peer reviewed.

higher than anyone else I'm aware of on this site would claim.
There are others with Phds.

Sorry you've been treated so poorly here
He was treated well when he first showed up. Then he started spamming. One thread after another most not even remotely related to his papers. It would help if he engaged in debate.

I have no problem with Cranks posting here, IF they actually engage in reasoned debate. Oliver refuses.

Ethelred
Ethelred
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2011
Why would isotope ages from CO2 mines in New Mexico be necessarily similar to isotope ages from Hawaiian
Depends on the isotope. The plutonium came from the supernova or supernovas that seeded the cloud the Solar System came from. So that should all be the same age. Xenon is much of what Oliver has worked on in peer reviewed papers. I have only read the papers he has linked to here though so maybe his earlier work was different.

CO2 can only be dated by C14 and that only goes back, at most, 70,000 years thus it should all be too old to date. Which would give them all the same age. Over 70,000 years.

There are other isotopes and last I heard the Haywain volcanoes produced a lot of He3. Which very well may have been produced by cold fusion.

Ethelred
Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 11, 2011
Haywain
I need to shoot my spell check. That was supposed to be HAWAIIAN.

Well maybe I should go with that.

Haywains are a known source of He3. It comes from the bacteria from Mars that are breaking down the cellulose to power the space ship they need to get back there after they kidnap our women.

Thus women should not be allowed near haywains. Nickle must kept away as well as they cannot just use raw He3, they MUST have nickle to achieve true cold nickle-He3 fusion for the Star Drive.

I have been assured that this all true by the last survivor of Atlantis. I found him hiding in an alley drinking Ripple near Disneyland. He was very clear that Ripple is all that is keeping him alive these days.

285 characters to go.

Ripple is the food of the gods and Atlantis was the last home of the gods that were protecting us from the bacteria from Barsoom. Ripple kills these bacteria and he needs more of it to protect Disneyland from DreamWorks and its pro Martian propaganda.

Ethelred
jscroft
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2011
Yah that's pretty funny. Hey, is anybody ever going to do a journalistic expose on all the crazy characters that post here? The two dozen people who actually read it would LOVE it, even though they would ultimately all be laughing at each other.

I nominate Ethelred and that nutjob who calls everybody "Tards" to co-author the thing. Sorry, Ethelred... but the point is entertainment for US, not for YOU. :)
Ethelred
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2011
Don't be silly. Everyone that posts is doing it to entertain themselves.

OK be silly.

Ethelred
omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2011
Why would isotope ages from CO2 mines in New Mexico be necessarily similar to isotope ages from Hawaiian volcanoes?


Thanks for your question.

Apparently the same CO2 from the mantle gets trapped in

a.) Olivine xenoliths carried to the surface in Hawaiian volcanos, and

b.) Giant bubbles of high-pressure CO2 trapped in Northern New Mexico.

A friend at the USGS sent sample a.) on request.

I drove to New Mexico and collected sample b.) myself.

That was a few years ago, in the early 1970s.

Here's a video summary of my career:

1. Science vs. Propaganda (1961)

www.youtube.com/w...ld5PR4ts

2. Origin of the Solar System (1975)

www.youtube.com/w...e_Qk-q7M

3. The Iron Sun (1983)

www.youtube.com/w...QSSHIe6k

4. Neutron Repulsion (2001)

www.youtube.com/w...yLYSiPO0

5. Global Warming Scam (2011)

www.youtube.com/w...IFmZpFco
Ethelred
5 / 5 (5) Aug 12, 2011
Sad career there Oliver. You crapped all over the good part by turning Crank. Five links and fives sets of nonsense.

I started the first one.

Fives seconds in and the lies start. Eisenhower did not support your ideas yet you immediately claim that is the jist of it. You MAY not have meant it that way but with a start like that there is no chance of it getting better.

Especially considering your recent nonsense about a VAST conspiracy involving Mao to control the Universe with lies about Global Warming. You and the old Dick Tracey Moon Men strip. Utter nonsense passed of as Important Stuff That Will Protect Us From The Evil Commies.

Commies like
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan
George H. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barrack Obama

All of whom have conspired with Commie Henry Kissinger and Chairman Mao to Control All That Exists by Making Up Global Warming.

That is what you are claiming Oliver.

Ethelred