Earth’s deep oxygen cycle, from the magma ocean to the present


Seminar Rooms, Department of Earth Sciences, South Parks Road, OX1 3AN

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Fri 17th Feb 2023
12 noon
Booking required

Speaker: Prof Marc Hirschmann, Robert & Carol Gunn Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota; Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Forschungpreis 2022-2023 (Bayreuth, FU Berlin)

Abstract: Earth’s mantle has been oxidized compared to its cosmochemical building blocks since the earliest Hadean.  This oxidation is linked to Earth’s initial differentiation, including processes in magma oceans, but these remain poorly understood.  During its subsequent evolution to the present, Earth has developed a substantial oxidized surface reservoir that amounts to approximately 20% of the oxidative power of the accessible Earth, with the other 80% remaining in the mantle.  This surface reservoir is essential to the modern surface environment, but originates largely from the mantle and to date this coupled surface-interior redox evolution lacks quantification.  Today the mantle includes domains with distinct redox states sampled by oceanic and mid-ocean ridge basalts, though their origin, recycled versus primordial, is not yet illuminated.  In this talk I will consider models and experiments that aid understanding of the redox evolution of terrestrial planets and Earth’s subsequent deep planetary redox cycling.

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