Date March 4, 2016
Speaker C. Brenhin Keller Princeton University
Topic Geochemistry in the Era of Open Data: New insights into the formation and evolution of Earth's continental crust
Abstract Earth's unique continental crust is crucial to life on our planet as we know it, in turn as a source for raw materials, a substrate for growth, and as a component in the silicate weathering feedback that stabilizes Earth's equable climate on billion-year timescales. However, much is not yet known about the processes by which the continental crust forms and evolves over time, in part due to the fact that compositional heterogeneity at any one point in geologic time typically dwarfs any systematic temporal trends. New computational approaches made possible by the emergence of large, freely-accessible geochemical datasets provide a way to see through this heterogeneity and extract quantitative information about underlying processes and variables that drive the evolution of Earth's crust over geologic time.