Questions tagged [geochemistry]

The science that uses the tools and principles of chemistry to explain the mechanisms behind major geological systems.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
34
votes
3answers
14k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
29k views

What are the high field strength and large ion lithophile (HFS or HFSE & LIL or LILE) elements?

There are two groups of elements that are frequently mentioned when discussing incompatible trace elements. They are the high field strength elements (HFS or HFSE) and the large ion lithophile ...
4
votes
1answer
576 views

Why is uranium only in the crust, really?

As I know, uranium is currently thought that it is mainly in the crust and not in the core or in the mantle. The reason for that it is a siderophile element which means it won't be solved in molten ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

What are rare earths and why do they cluster near alkaline magmatism?

'Rare earths' play a vital role in the modern economy, and they are becoming more of a point of focus in geopolitical realms. What are 'rare earths' and why do they appear to cluster in association ...
16
votes
2answers
928 views

What processes produced the basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway?

The Giant's Causeway is, according to the Wikipedia page was formed during during the Paleogene Period, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded ...
36
votes
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 ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the origin of the ocean's salt?

We know we cannot live without salt, but an investigation into the origins of ocean's salt leads one to believe that this issue is not fully resolved yet. What geological phenomenon caused the earth ...
19
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
12k views

What is the origin of the dominant atmospheric nitrogen content in Earth's atmosphere?

Comparing the atmospheric compositions of Earth with our nearest neighbours: As the table shows, the Earth's atmospheric nitrogen concentration is 78%, compared to 3.8% for Venus and 2.7% for Mars ...
4
votes
1answer
800 views

What are the implications of the recent discovery that huge oceans exist close to the mantle of the Earth? [duplicate]

I was of the notion that as we get deeper into the Earth, it gets hotter and hotter. If so, how can there be huge oceans (they seem bigger than our Pacific) exist at such a place? If so, what are the ...
13
votes
3answers
504 views

What, if any, paleoclimate data can be derived from igneous rocks?

Paleoclimate data often derives from sedimentary rocks. Metamorphic rocks can also contribute to paleoclimate information in a wide variety of ways. What about igneous rocks? I guess that this can ...
6
votes
2answers
672 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
votes
3answers
12k views

Why silicon is abundant in earth surface?

What is the reason for having silicon in so large quantity on earth surface?
4
votes
1answer
71 views

The effect of CO2 concentration on the pH of the ocean

I'm confused about how increased $\ce{CO2}$ concentration in the atmosphere affects the pH of the ocean. The increase in $\ce{CO2}$ concentration means the pH of the ocean will decrease (by several ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Melting point of minerals

Looking at this website, I can see the melting point of the following minerals: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Geophys/meltrock.html Apparently at a temperature of 1200 °C, all the ...
33
votes
5answers
6k views

How and why did the oceans form on Earth but not on other planets?

Earth is the only planet in our solar system that has copious amounts of water on it. Where did this water come from and why is there so much water on Earth compared to every other planet in the ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does Earth have abundant oxygen in the atmosphere?

Because of photosynthesis, obviously. But then it's not actually that obvious after all, because photosynthesis is mostly balanced by respiration. We can summarise the processes of photosynthesis ...
6
votes
2answers
293 views

Why doesn't the Earth's outer core dissolve into the mantle?

It is well accepted that the outer core is made out of liquid iron and nickel, and as everything else it should tend to reach chemical equilibrium with its surrounding. In particular, I would expect ...
16
votes
2answers
629 views

Why is there Uranium in Earth's Crust?

Uranium's density is greater than most elements, so you would expect it to settle to the bottom of a volume of fluid. In the case of the Earth, which was molten in the beginning, you might then expect ...
15
votes
1answer
312 views

When a tectonic plate subducts, does any of the subducted material melt, or is it just the mantle above the subducted slab that melts?

I know that water released from oceanic crust causes melting of the mantle in subduction zones, but does any part of the subducted slab melt as well - such as the sediments on the slab or the basalt? ...
11
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is continental crust less dense than oceanic?

Why is it that continental crust is less dense than oceanic, where in fact continental crust is thicker than oceanic crust?
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Pyrite oxidation

How much pyrite has to be oxidized to produce a sulfate concentration of 15 mM? If the solution initially has a pH of 8, roughly what would the pH drop to if there is no buffering of acidity?
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Is the magma in one volcano different from the magma in every other volcano?

First off, a confession: I'm asking this question because of The Lord of the Rings. If you're not aware already, in the story, a magical ring can only be destroyed in a specific volcano. The reason ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

How much Uranium is there in the Earth's Crust?

Are there any estimates of the amount of Uranium there is in Earth's Crust? From what I know, it's supposed that there are large amounts of Uranium in Earth's Core, the decay of which is responsible ...
13
votes
1answer
4k views

What is it about ancient craton geology that results in associated kimberlite pipes containing economic diamond deposits?

According to the Australian Geological Survey Organisation paper Kimberlite and lamproite diamond pipes (Jaques, 1998), economic deposits of volcanically-formed diamonds are restricted to ancient ...
12
votes
1answer
332 views

Are there significant amounts of rare earth elements on Iceland?

The rare earth elements form in magmatic rocks. The Iceland is very active vulcanic region, and it's, to my knowledge, entirely build from magmatic rocks. So it wouldn't be surprising if there were ...
11
votes
1answer
147 views

Are there any metal anomalies other than iridium in the K-Pg boundary?

The iridium anomaly marks the elevated concentration of iridium in sedimentary deposits of the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The iridium is said to come from the impactor, which is supposed to have ...
9
votes
0answers
81 views

Predicting volcanic eruptions by experimentally proven volatile outgassing observations

In the abstract for the article Forecasting Etna eruptions by real-time observation of volcanic gas composition (Aiuppa et al. 2007), the authors assert that real time monitoring of volcanic volatiles,...
9
votes
1answer
222 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, ...
9
votes
1answer
393 views

How does the composition of volcanic rock change as it makes its ascent towards the surface?

A schematic for the fluid mechanics of a volcano is represented below. Graciously borrowed from Figure 1 of the reference cited below From the caption of that figure: During explosive eruptions, ...
8
votes
2answers
33k views

Is oxygen the most abundant element on Earth?

When I was in school, I was taught that we need oxygen to breathe, but it actually constitutes only a small fraction of the atmospheric composition, and that nitrogen constituted the largest fraction ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How do hematite and magnetite form?

I want to understand the conditions under which hematite $\ce{Fe_2O_3}$ and magnetite $\ce{Fe_3O_4}$ form in nature. The linked Wikipedia articles explain various conditions under which they form, but ...
7
votes
1answer
449 views

What “g” would be needed to keep helium on Earth?

I know that helium is a very light and rare gas on Earth because Earths gravity is not strong enough to keep it. Instead, helium and hydrogen are rising through the atmosphere and escape into outer ...
7
votes
1answer
394 views

What ozone depleting chemicals can salt produce?

According to How Long Will Life Last On Earth, 250 million years ago Siberia underwent a large a prolonged period of volcanic activity. It has been speculated that large salt deposits that existed in ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

What is the geochemical source for the helium detected in deep Arctic explosive eruptions?

Recently, there has been explosive deep-ocean volcanism detected along the slowly-spreading Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean (see map below), according the National Geographic news article Arctic ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the difference between chalcophile and siderophile elements?

As it is described (W. M. White, Geochemistry): Siderophile elements have an affinity for a metallic liquid phase and chalcophile elements have an affinity for a sulfide liquid phase. What ...
3
votes
0answers
166 views

Where does molecular hydrogen in the atmosphere come from?

This figure from Wikipedia's Atmosphere of Earth shows a hydrogen fraction of 0.000055 percent by volume. Question: Where does molecular hydrogen in the atmosphere come from? Does this come directly ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

How does friction and radiolysis provide hydrogen for “unusual types of methane”?

The fascinating New York Times article Gas That Makes a Mountain Breathe Fire Is Turning Up Around the World talks about the Flames of Chimaera and the Deep Carbon Observatory: And a series of ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Why the “Mission to Earth’s core” proposal suggests using liquid iron instead of lead?

Nature communications article "Mission to Earth's core — a modest proposal", suggests placing a large volume of liquid iron in a crack and let it sink all the way to the Earth's core, carrying along a ...