Questions tagged [earth-history]

Questions relating to Historical Geology.

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33
votes
3answers
13k views

Why is Earth's age given by dating meteorites rather than its own rocks?

Reading a course on Precambrian, I read that: Earth Age (around 4.5 billion years) is dated thanks to the meteorites hitting Earth during its formation rather than the inner materials composing the ...
12
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3answers
5k views

Why is Earth's Core Iron?

The two major constituents of the Earth's core are iron and nickel. In documentaries and scientific conversations, iron gets more attention than nickel, probably because it makes up a bigger ...
4
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1answer
558 views

Causes of fluctuations in atmospheric oxygen in past 300 Mya

I have two questions based on the history of atmospheric oxygen levels depicted below. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sauerstoffgehalt-1000mj2.png. The notes below the chart explain ...
17
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4answers
14k views

What was the first rock in the rock cycle?

I am an undergraduate student but I am a tutor at a High School, and one student asked me. Attempting to explain the rock cycle "if one rock turns into the other then which came first" my gut is ...
15
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2answers
3k views

How did tectonic plates originally come to form?

Plate tectonics is a theory which describes Earth's lithosphere as being composed of distinct plates which are able to move atop of the underlying asthenosphere. At plate boundaries, this movement ...
12
votes
2answers
424 views

Determining the paleoelevation of mountain ranges

In New Delhi, a lot of people say that the Aravali range used to be as tall as the Himalayas. How do scientists know that some mountain range used to be a lot taller millions of years ago, and what ...
11
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2answers
159 views

Water on Mars and Earth

If water on Earth came from meteorites, why doesn't Mars have substantial water? What made it more highly probable on Earth than on Mars?
11
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2answers
282 views

Change in earth mass since the time of the dinosaurs

Is there a significant difference in the mass of the Earth between now and the time of the dinosaurs (250 - 75 million years ago)? I was just wondering if the force of gravity on dinosaurs would have ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Was volcanic activity more prevalent when the dinosaurs roamed?

Popular film culture often depicts much volcanic activity during the time of the dinosaurs. Assuming "time of the dinosaurs" as the Jurassic (200 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous (...
6
votes
2answers
601 views

What was the likely composition of Earth's early crust (how did crustal composition evolve)?

Was the first crust entirely mafic (oceanic) crust which was later distilled via volcanic arcs along subduction zones to make felsic rocks or did the earth start with bits of felsic crust? Are the ...
5
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3answers
10k views

Why silicon is abundant in earth surface?

What is the reason for having silicon in so large quantity on earth surface?
26
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3answers
33k views

Why is Earth's inner core made of an iron-nickel alloy?

This question has puzzled me for a while. I know that earth's mantle is made of different minerals, metals and rocks etc. and that has always made complete sense to me. But why is the inner core made ...
35
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5answers
3k views

How do we know the asteroids formed at the same time as earth?

In continuation of the question Why is Earth's age given by dating meteorites rather than its own rocks?, what evidence do we have that the asteroids indeed formed at the same time as earth? Is there ...
18
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3answers
28k views

Why does the earth spin clockwise?

Why does earth rotate in a clockwise direction? Did a large meteor collide with earth causing earth to rotate? If that is what happened, could another, larger meteor cause earth to reverse its ...
11
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1answer
220 views

What caused a fall in atmospheric oxygen about 1.9 billion years ago?

Using chromium isotopes geochemistry, Frei et al. 2009, describe in the article Fluctuations in Precambrian atmospheric oxygenation recorded by chromium isotopes that after the Great Oxidation Event (...
17
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3answers
2k views

Why deep ocean didn't freeze during snowball Earth?

I know that at least twice in its history Earth was totally frozen. I also know that the last time it happened there were already life on Earth, and it survived. In deep water, under the ice, which ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Why is earth's axis tilted?

Why is the axis of earth tilted? It can't possibly be that the Northern hemisphere is larger causing it to be pulled toward the sun, because then it would always be summer in the N hemisphere and ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Historically, how has the fraction of Earth covered by water changed?

Today, 70.8% of the Earth is covered in water (± a few tenths of a percent depending on how you account for lakes).1 How has this figure changed over the history of the Earth, and why? Of course, if ...
11
votes
1answer
256 views

Is there conclusive evidence for the Antarctic Circumpolar Current developing after the glaciation of Antarctica?

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the continuous oceanic current that encircles the Antarctic continent, as is often explained in the literature as being the cause of the onset of glaciation ...
11
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1answer
1k views

What is the fastest the Earth has ever spun?

How fast can the Earth rotate and support life? In prehistoric times, dinosaurs were so massive that archeologists wonder how they were not crushed under their own weight. Could a faster spinning ...
9
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1answer
210 views

Did an impact crater influence the formation of uranium deposits in South Australia?

As a supplementary question Did an impact crater cause the formation of the gas fields in north eastern South Australia . South Australia is a well documented uranium province. Could an impact crater, ...
6
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0answers
93 views

Did an impact crater cause the formation of the gas fields in north eastern South Australia

In the paper High Impact Reservoirs, the authors claim that impact craters have lead to both the creation and destruction of petroleum source rocks, reservoirs and traps. Recently it was announced ...
6
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1answer
489 views

How was the Earth formed?

What events took place in our Solar System which led to formation of the Earth? I have heard from sources that a big giant star exploded and the Earth was formed. Is this true ?
5
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2answers
5k views

Are there more earthquakes near the equator or poles?

When comparing the average distance of the all known earthquake epicenters to the nearest pole, is the longitudinal distance to the equator or the poles the smallest of the two? Please note that any ...
5
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2answers
600 views

Were all of Earth's minerals created before Earth's formation, during, or after?

I've heard that during the accretion of proto-planets that formed the earth, 60 minerals were created through the reactions of atoms and molecules in the nebula. Do these first minerals still make up ...
3
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1answer
218 views

Why is Great Oxidation Event associated with Iron oxidation but not Aluminum or Silicon?

Just to build up on my previous success with oxygen origin in the atmosphere, I want to expand the question as was advised in the answers. The official heresy, despite denied in the comments and ...