Redox History of the Earth's Interior since ∼3900 Ma: Implications for Prebiotic Molecules

  • John W. Delano


The history of the oxidation state in the Earth's mantle has beenconstrained using (a) the whole-rock abundances of Cr and V inancient volcanics, and (b) the composition of Cr-rich spinels in ancient volcanics. Results indicate that the Earth's mantle hasbeen at-or-near its current oxidation state (±0.5 log-unitfO2) since at least 3600 Ma, and probably since at least 3960 Ma. Volatiles released into the Earth's atmosphere by high-temperature (T ≥ 1300 K) volcanism during this time have been dominated by H2O, CO2, and SO2. This blend ofvolatiles is known to provide smaller yields of prebiotic, organic molecules by atmospheric and surface processes than gasmixtures containing higher concentrations of reduced species suchas H2, CO, and H2S (e.g., Miller, 1998; Zolotov and Shock, 2000). The results discussed in this article independentlysupport the conclusion of Canil (1997, 1999). f the atmosphere was reducing (e.g., CH4, H2, H2S, NH3, CO) at any time during the last ∼3900 Ma,high-temperature volcanic outgassing was not the cause of it.

basaltic volcanism chromium oxidation state reducing atmosphere spinel volcanic gases 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abelson, P. H.: 1966, 'Chemical events on the primitive earth', Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 55, 1365–1372.Google Scholar
  2. Arculus, R. J. and Delano, J. W.: 1980, 'Implications for the primitive atmosphere of the oxidation state of Earth's upper mantle', Nature 288, 72–74.Google Scholar
  3. Arculus, R. J. and Delano, J. W.: 1981, 'Intrinsic fO2 measurements: Techniques and results for spinels from upper mantle peridotites and megacryst assemblages', Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 45, 899–913.Google Scholar
  4. Allan, J. F., Sack, R. O. and Batiza, R.: 1988, 'Cr-rich spinels as petrogenetic indicators: MORB-type lavas from the Lamont seamount chain, eastern Pacific', Amer. Mineral. 73, 741–753.Google Scholar
  5. Allan, J. F., Batiza, R., Perfit, M. R., Fornari, D. J. and Sack, R. O.: 1989, 'Petrology of lavas from the Lamont Seamount Chain and adjacent East Pacific Rise, 10°N', J. Petrol. 30, 1245–1298.Google Scholar
  6. Arndt, N. T.: 1977, 'Thick, layered peridotite-gabbro lava flows in Munro Township, Ontario', Can. J. Earth Sci. 14, 2620–2637.Google Scholar
  7. Arndt, N. T. and Nesbitt, R. W.: 1982, 'Geochemistry of Munro Township Basalts', in N. T. Arndt and E. G. Nisbet (eds), Komatiites George Allen and Unwin, London, pp. 309–330.Google Scholar
  8. Arndt, N. T., Naldrett, A. J. and Pyke, D. R.: 1977, 'Komatiitic and iron-rich tholeiitic lavas of Munro Township, northeast Ontario', J. Petrol. 18, 319–369.Google Scholar
  9. Arth, J. G., Arndt, N. T. and Naldrett, A. J.: 1977, 'Genesis of Archean komatiites from Munro Township, Ontario: Trace element evidence', Geology 5, 590–594.Google Scholar
  10. Ballhaus, C., Berry, R. F. and Green, D. H.: 1990, 'Oxygen fugacity controls in the Earth's upper mantle', Nature 348, 437–440.Google Scholar
  11. Barnes, S. J.: 1986, 'The distribution of chromium among orthopyroxene, spinel and silicate liquid at atmospheric pressure', Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 50, 1889–1909.Google Scholar
  12. Barnes, S. J.: 1998, 'Chromite in komatiites, 1. Magmatic controls on crystallization and composition', J. Petrol. 39, 1689–1720.Google Scholar
  13. Barnes, S. J., Gorton, M. P. and Naldrett, A. J.: 1983, 'A comparative study of olivine and clinopyroxene spinifex flows from Alexo, Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Ontario, Canada', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 83, 293–308.Google Scholar
  14. Barnes, S. J. and Hoatson, D. M.: 1994, 'The Munni Munni Complex, Western Australia: Stratigraphy, structure and petrogenesis', J. Petrol. 35, 715–751.Google Scholar
  15. Basaltic Volcanism Study Project: 1981, Chapter 1.2.6, 161–192. Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  16. Batiza, R. and Vanko, D.: 1984, 'Petrology of young Pacific seamounts', J. Geophys. Res. 89(B13), 11,235–11,260.Google Scholar
  17. Bender, J. F., Langmuir, C. H. and Hanson, G. N.: 1984, 'Petrogenesis of basalt glasses from the Tamayo region, East Pacific Rise', J. Petrology 25, 213–254.Google Scholar
  18. Blundy, J. D., Brodholt, J. P. and Wood, B. J.: 1991, 'Carbon-fluid equilibria and the oxidation state of the upper mantle', Nature 349, 321–324.Google Scholar
  19. Bowring, S. A., Housh, T. B. and Isachsen, C. E.: 1990, 'The Acasta Gneisses: Remnant of Earth's Early Crust', in H. E. Newsom and J. H. Jones (eds), Origin of the Earth, Oxford University Press, pp. 319–343.Google Scholar
  20. Bowring, S. A. and Williams, I. S.: 1999, 'Priscoan (4.00–403 Ga) orthogneisses from northwestern Canada', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 134, 3–16.Google Scholar
  21. Bridgwater, D. and Collerson, K. D.: 1976, 'The major petrological and geochemical characters of the 3,600 m.y. Uivak gneisses from Labrador', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 54, 43–59.Google Scholar
  22. Bryan, W. B., Thompson, G., and Ludden, J. N.: 1981, 'Compositional variation in normal MORB from 22–25°N: Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Kane Fracture Zone', J. Geophys. Res. 86(B12), 11,815–11,836.Google Scholar
  23. Bryndzia, L. T. and Wood, B. J.: 1990, 'Oxygen thermobarometry of abyssal spinel peridotites: The redox state and C-O-H volatile composition of the Earth's sub-oceanic upper mantle', Amer. J. Sci. 290, 1093–1116.Google Scholar
  24. Buddington, A. F. and Lindsley, D. H.: 1964, 'Iron-titanium oxide minerals and synthetic equivalents', J. Petrol. 5, 310–357.Google Scholar
  25. Canil, D.: 1987, 'The geochemistry of komatiites and basalts from the Deadman Hill area, Munro Township, Ontario, Canada', Canad. J. Earth Sci. 24, 998–1008.Google Scholar
  26. Canil, D.: 1997, 'Vanadium partitioning and the oxidation state of Archaean komatiite magmas', Nature 389, 842–845.Google Scholar
  27. Canil, D.: 1999, 'Vanadium partitioning between orthopyroxene, spinel and silicate melt and the redox states of mantle source regions for primary magmas', Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 63, 557–572.Google Scholar
  28. Carmichael, I. S. E., Turner, F. J. and Verhoogen, J.: 1974, Igneous Petrology, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  29. Cattell, A. and Arndt, N. T.: 1987, 'Low-and high-alumina komatiites from a Late Archaean sequence, Newton Township, Ontario', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 97, 218–227.Google Scholar
  30. Chadwick, B. and Crewe, M. A.: 1986, 'Chromite in the early Archean Akilia Association (ca. 3800 M.Y.), Ivisartoq region, Inner Godthabsfjord, southern West Greenland', Econ. Geol. 81, 184–191.Google Scholar
  31. Chang, S., DesMarais, D., Mack, R., Miller, S. L. and Strathearn, G. E.: 1983, 'Prebiotic Organic Syntheses and the Origin of Life', in J. W. Schopf (ed.), Earth's Earliest Biosphere: Its Origin and Evolution, Princeton University Press, pp. 53–92.Google Scholar
  32. Chappell, B. W. and Green, D. H.: 1973, 'Chemical composition and petrogenetic relationships in Apollo 15 mare basalts', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 18, 237–246.Google Scholar
  33. Christie, D.M., Carmichael, I. S. E. and Langmuir, C. H.: 1986, 'Oxidation states of mid-ocean ridge basalt glasses', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 79, 397–411.Google Scholar
  34. Chyba, C. F.: 1990, 'Impact delivery and erosion of planetary oceans in the early inner Solar System', Nature 343, 129–133.Google Scholar
  35. Chyba, C. and Sagan, C.: 1992, 'Endogenous production, exogenous delivery and impact-shock synthesis of organic molecules: an inventory for the origins of life', Nature 355, 125–132.Google Scholar
  36. Clague, D. A. and Beeson, M. H.: 1980, 'Trace element geochemistry of the East Molokai Volcanic Series, Hawaii', Amer. J. Sci. 280-A, 820–844.Google Scholar
  37. Clague, D. A. and Frey, F. A.: 1982, 'Petrology and trace element geochemistry of the Honolulu Volcanic Series, Oahu: Implications for the oceanic mantle beneath Hawaii', J. Petrol. 23, 447–504.Google Scholar
  38. Clague, D. A., Frey, F. A., Thompson, G. and Rindge, S.: 1981, 'Minor and trace element geochemistry of volcanic rocks dredged from the Galapagos spreading center: Role of crystal fractionation and mantle heterogeneity', J. Geophys. Res. 86(B10), 9469–9482.Google Scholar
  39. Cloud, P.: 1988, Oasis in Space: Earth History from the Beginning, W. W. Norton, New York.Google Scholar
  40. Cody, G. D., Boctor, N. Z., Filley, T. R., Hazen, R. M., Scott, J. H., Sharma, A., and Yoder Jr., H. S.: 2000, 'Primordial carbonylated iron-sulfur compounds and the synthesis of pyruvate', Science 289, 1337–1340.Google Scholar
  41. Compston, W., Berry, H., Vernon, M. J., Chappell, B. W. and Kaye, M. J.: 1971, 'Rubidium-Strontium Chronology and Chemistry of Lunar Material from the Ocean of Storms', in Proc. 2nd Lunar Science Conf., M.I.T. Press, pp. 1471–1485.Google Scholar
  42. Condie, K. C., Viljoen, M. J. and Kable, E. J. D.: 1977, 'Effects of alteration on element distributions in Archaean tholeiites from the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 64, 75–89.Google Scholar
  43. Constantin, M.: 1999, 'Gabbroic intrusions and magmatic metasomatism in harzburgites from the Garrett transform fault: implications for the nature of the mantle-crust transition at fast-spreading ridges', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 136, 111–130.Google Scholar
  44. Cousens, B. L., Allan, J. F., Leybourne, M. I., Chase, R. L. and Van Wagoner, N.: 1995, 'Mixing of magmas from enriched and depleted mantle sources in the northeast Pacific: West Valley segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 120, 337–357.Google Scholar
  45. Crow, C. and Condie, K. C.: 1987, 'Geochemistry and origin of late Archean volcanic rocks from the Rhenosterhoek Formation, Dominion Group, South Africa', Precamb. Res. 37, 217–229.Google Scholar
  46. Crow, C. and Condie, K. C.: 1988, 'Geochemistry and origin of late Archean volcanics from the Ventersdorp Supergroup, South Africa', Precamb. Res. 42, 19–37.Google Scholar
  47. Cuttitta, F., Rose Jr., H. J., Annell, C. S., Carron, M. K., Christian, R. P., Ligon Jr., D. T., Dwornik, E. J., Wright, T. L. and Greenland, L. P.: 1973, 'Chemistry of twenty-one igneous rocks and soils returned by the Apollo 15 mission', in Proc. 4th Lunar Sci. Conf., pp. 1081–1096.Google Scholar
  48. Daniels, L. R. M. and Gurney, J. J.: 1991, 'Oxygen fugacity constraints on the southern African lithosphere', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 108, 154–161.Google Scholar
  49. Davis, A. S. and Clague, D. A.: 1987, 'Geochemistry, mineralogy, and petrogenesis of basalt from the Gorda Ridge', J. Geophys. Res. 92(B10), 10,467–10,483.Google Scholar
  50. Delano, J. W.: 1986, 'Pristine lunar glasses: Criteria, data, and implications', J. Geophys. Res. 91(B4), Supplement, D201-D213.Google Scholar
  51. Delsemme, A. H.: 1998, 'Cosmic Origin of the Biosphere', in A. Brack (ed.), The Molecular Origins of Life, Cambridge University Press, pp. 100–118.Google Scholar
  52. Dreibus, G. and Wanke, H.: 1987, 'Volatiles on Earth and Mars: A comparison', Icarus 71, 225–240.Google Scholar
  53. Duncan, A. R., Erlank, A. J., Willis, J. P., Sher, M. K. and Ahrens, L. H.: 1974, 'Trace element evidence for a two-stage origin of some titaniferous mare basalts', in Proc. 5th Lunar Sci. Conf., Pergamon Press, pp. 1147–1157.Google Scholar
  54. Eggler, D. H.: 1983, 'Upper mantle oxidation state: Evidence from olivine-orthopyroxene-ilmenite assemblages', Geophys. Res. Lett. 10, 365–368.Google Scholar
  55. Evans, B. W. and Wright, T. L.: 1972, 'Compositions of liquidus chromite from the 1969 (Kilauea Iki) and 1965 (Makaopuhi) eruptions of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii', Amer. Mineral. 57, 217–230.Google Scholar
  56. Fan, J. and Kerrich, R.: 1997, 'Geochemical characteristics of aluminum depleted and undepleted komatiites and HREE-enriched low-Ti tholeiites, western Abitibi greenstone belt: A heterogeneous mantle plume-convergent margin environment', Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 61, 4723–4744.Google Scholar
  57. Faure, G.: 1998, Principles and Applications of Geochemistry, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall (Table A.12; pp. 516–517).Google Scholar
  58. Feigenson, M. D.: 1984, 'Geochemistry of Kauai volcanics and a mixing model for the origin of Hawaiian alkali basalts', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 87, 109–119.Google Scholar
  59. Ford, C. E., Russell, D. G., Craven, J. A. and Fisk, M. R.: 1983, 'Olivine-liquid equilibria: Temperature, pressure and composition dependence of the crystal/liquid cation partition coefficients for Mg, Fe2+, Ca and Mn', J. Petrol. 24, 256–265.Google Scholar
  60. Frey, F. A., Dickey Jr., J. S., Thompson, G., Bryan, W. B. and Davies, H. L.: 1980, 'Evidence for heterogeneous primary MORB and mantle sources, NW Indian Ocean', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 74, 387–402.Google Scholar
  61. Frey, F. A., Walker, N., Stakes, D., Hart, S. R. and Nielsen, R.: 1993, 'Geochemical characteristics of basaltic glasses from the AMAR and FAMOUS axial valleys, Mid-Atlantic Ridge (36–37°N): Petrogenetic implications', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 115, 117–136.Google Scholar
  62. Furuta, T. and Tokuyama, H.: 1983, 'Chromian Spinels in Costa Rica Basalts, Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 505-A Preliminary Interpretation of Electron Microprobe Analyses', in Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Program 69, 805–810.Google Scholar
  63. Gaetani, G. A.: 1990, 'Petrology and Major Element Geochemistry of Basaltic Glasses from the Blanco Trough, Northeast Pacific', M.S. Thesis, SUNY Albany, 244 p.Google Scholar
  64. Gerlach, T. M.: 1980, 'Evaluation of volcanic gas analyses from Kilauea volcano', J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 7, 295–317.Google Scholar
  65. Gill, R. C. O. and Bridgwater, D.: 1979, 'Archaean basic magmatism in West Greenland: The geochemistry of the Ameralik Dykes', J. Petrol. 20, 695–726.Google Scholar
  66. Gurenko, A. A. and Schmincke, H.-U.: 2000, 'S concentrations and its speciation inMiocene basaltic magmas north and south of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands): Constraints from glass inclusions in olivine and clinopyroxene', Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 64, 2321–2337.Google Scholar
  67. Haggerty, S. E.: 1978, 'The redox state of planetary basalts', Geophys. Res. Lett. 5, 443–446.Google Scholar
  68. Haggerty, S. E. and Toft, P. B.: 1985, 'Native iron in the continental lower crust: Petrological and geophysical implications', Science 229, 647–649.Google Scholar
  69. Hanson, B. and Jones, J. H.: 1998, 'The systematics of Cr3+ and Cr2+ partitioning between olivine and liquid in the presence of spinel', Amer. Mineral. 83, 669–684.Google Scholar
  70. Hawkesworth, C. J. and O'Nions, R. K.: 1977, 'The petrogenesis of some Archaean volcanic rocks from South Africa', J. Petrol. 18, 487–520.Google Scholar
  71. Hill, R. and Roeder, P.: 1974, 'The crystallization of spinel from basaltic liquid as a function of oxygen fugacity', J. Geol. 82, 709–729.Google Scholar
  72. Holland, H. D.: 1962, in A. E. J. Engel, H. L. James, B. F. Leonard (eds), Petrologic Studies: A Volume in Honor of A. F. Buddington, The Geological Society of America, pp. 447–477.Google Scholar
  73. Holland, H. D.: 1978, The Chemistry of the Atmosphere and the Ocean, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  74. Holland, H. D.: 1984, The Chemical Evolution of the Atmosphere and Oceans, Princeton Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  75. Hollings, P. and Kerrich, R.: 1999, 'Trace element systematics of ultramafic and mafic volcanic rocks from the 3 Ga North Caribou greenstone belt, northwestern Superior Province', Precamb. Res. 93, 257–279.Google Scholar
  76. Holm, N. G.: 1990, Report on the Workshop: 'Chemical evolution and neo-abiogenesis in marine hydrothermal systems', Origin Life Evol. Biosphere 20, 93–98.Google Scholar
  77. Holm, N. G. and Andersson, E. M.: 1998, in A. Brack (ed.), The Molecular Origins of Life, Cambridge University Press, pp. 86–99.Google Scholar
  78. Hunten, D. M.: 1993, 'Atmospheric evolution of the terrestrial planets', Science 259, 915–920.Google Scholar
  79. Irvine, T. N.: 1965, 'Chromian spinel as a petrogenetic indicator: Part 1. Theory', Canad. J. Earth Sci. 2, 648–672.Google Scholar
  80. Jagoutz, E., Palme, H., Baddenhausen, H., Blum, K., Cendales, M., Dreibus, G., Spettel, B., Lorenz, V. and Wanke, H.: 1979, 'The Abundances of Major, Minor and Trace Elements in the Earth's Mantle as Derived from Primitive Ultramafic Nodules', in Proc. 10th Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., Pergamon Press, pp. 2031–2050.Google Scholar
  81. Jahn, B.-M., Gruau, G., Capdevila, R., Cornichet, J., Nemchin, A., Pidgeon, R. and Rudnik, V. A.: 1998, 'Archean crustal evolution of the Aldan Shield, Siberia: Geochemical and isotopic constraints', Precamb. Res. 91, 333–363.Google Scholar
  82. Karhu, J. A. and Holland, H. D.: 1996, 'Carbon isotopes and the rise of atmospheric oxygen', Geology 24, 867–870.Google Scholar
  83. Kasting, J. F.: 1990, 'Bolide impacts and the oxidation state of carbon in the Earth's early atmosphere', Origin Life Evol. Biosphere 20, 199–231.Google Scholar
  84. Kasting, J. F.: 1993, 'Earth's early atmosphere', Science 259, 920–926.Google Scholar
  85. Kasting, J. F., Eggler, D. H. and Raeburn, S. P.: 1993, 'Mantle redox evolution and the oxidation state of the Archean atmosphere', J. Geology 101, 245–257.Google Scholar
  86. Kasting, J. F. and Brown, L. L.: 1998, 'The Early Atmosphere as a Source of Biogenic Compounds', in Andre Brack (ed.), The Molecular Origins of Life, Cambridge University Press, pp. 35–56.Google Scholar
  87. Klein, E. M., Langmuir, C. H. and Staudigel, H.: 1991, 'Geochemistry of basalts from the southeast Indian Ridge, 115E-138°E', J. Geophys. Res. 96(B2), 2089–2107.Google Scholar
  88. Kump, L. R., Kasting, J. F. and Barley, M. E.: 2001, 'Rise of atmospheric oxygen and the 'upsidedown' Archean mantle', Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 2, Paper number 2000GC000114.Google Scholar
  89. Langmuir, C. H., Bender, J. F., Bence, A. E., Hanson, G. N. and Taylor, S. R.: 1977, 'Petrogenesis of basalts from the FAMOUS area: Mid-Atlantic Ridge', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 36, 133–156.Google Scholar
  90. Maher, K. A. and Stevenson, D. J.: 1988, 'Impact frustration of the origin of life', Nature 331, 612–614.Google Scholar
  91. Maurette, M.: 1998, 'Micrometeorites on the Early Earth', in A. Brack (ed.), The Molecular Origins of Life, Cambridge University Press, pp. 147–186.Google Scholar
  92. McGregor, V. R. and Mason, B.: 1977, 'Petrogenesis and geochemistry of metabasaltic and metasedimentary enclaves in the Amitsoq gneisses, West Greenland', Amer. Mineral. 62, 887–904.Google Scholar
  93. Miller, S. L.: 1953, 'Production of amino acids under possible primitive Earth conditions', Science 117, 528–529.Google Scholar
  94. Miller, S. L.: 1998, 'The Endogenous Synthesis of Organic Compounds', in A. Brack (ed.), The Molecular Origins of Life, Cambridge University Press, pp. 59–85.Google Scholar
  95. Mojzsis, S. J., Arrhenius, G., McKeegan, K. D. and Harrison, T. M.: 1996, 'Evidence for life on Earth before 3,800 million years ago', Nature 384, 55–59.Google Scholar
  96. Mojzsis, S. J., Harrison, T. M. and Pidgeon, R. T.: 2001, 'Oxygen-isotope evidence from ancient zircons for liquid water at the Earth's surface 4,300 Myr ago', Nature 409, 178–181.Google Scholar
  97. Muhe, R., Bohrmann, H., Garbe-Schonberg, D., and Kassens, H.: 1997, 'E-MORB glasses from the Gakkel Ridge (Arctic Ocean) at 87°N: evidence for the Earth's most northerly volcanic activity', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 152, 1–9.Google Scholar
  98. Murakami, T., Utsunomiya, S., Imazu, Y. and Prasad, N.: 2001, 'Direct evidence of late Archean to early Proterozoic anoxic atmosphere from a product of 2.5 Ga old weathering', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 184, 523–528.Google Scholar
  99. Murck, B. W. and Campbell, I. H.: 1986, 'The effects of temperature, oxygen fugacity and melt composition on the behaviour of chromium in basic and ultrabasic melts', Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 50, 1871–1887.Google Scholar
  100. Navarro-Gonzalez, R., Molina, M. J. and Molina, L. T.: 1998, 'Nitrogen fixation by volcanic lightning in the early Earth', Geophys. Res. Lett. 25, 3123–3127.Google Scholar
  101. Nesbitt, R. W. and Sun, S.-S.: 1976, 'Geochemistry of Archaean spinifex-textured peridotites and magnesian and low-magnesian tholeiites', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 31, 433–453.Google Scholar
  102. Nesbitt, R. W., Sun, S.-S. and Purvis, A. C.: 1979, 'Komatiites: Geochemistry and genesis', Canad. Mineral. 17, 165–186.Google Scholar
  103. Nicholls, J. and Stout, M. Z.: 1988, 'Picritic melts in Kilauea-Evidence from the 1967–1968 Halemaumau and Kiiaka eruptions', J. Petrol. 29, 1031–1057.Google Scholar
  104. Nisbet, E. G., Bickle, M. J. and Martin, A.: 1977, 'The mafic and ultramafic lavas of the Belingwe Greenstone Belt, Rhodesia', J. Petrol. 18, 521–566.Google Scholar
  105. Nisbet, E. G., Arndt, N. T., Bickle, M. J., Cameron, W. E., Chauvel, C., Cheadle, M., Hegner, E., Kyser, T. K., Martin, A., Renner, R. and Roedder, E.: 1987, 'Uniquely fresh 2.7 Ga komatiites from the Belingwe greenstone belt, Zimbabwe', Geology 15, 1147–1150.Google Scholar
  106. Nutman, A. P., Allaart, J. H., Bridgwater, D., Dimroth, E. and Rosing, M.: 1984, 'Stratigraphic and geochemical evidence for the depositional environment of the early Archaean Isua supracrustal belt, southern West Greenland', Precamb. Res. 25, 365–396.Google Scholar
  107. Nutman, A. P. and Bridgwater, D.: 1986, 'Early Archaean Amitsoq tonalites and granites of the Isukasia, southern West Greenland: development of the oldest-known sial', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 94, 137–148.Google Scholar
  108. Nutman, A. P., Fryer, B. J. and Bridgwater, D.: 1989, 'The early Archaean Nulliak (supracrustal) assemblage, northern Labrador', Canad. J. Earth Sci. 26, 2159–2168.Google Scholar
  109. Nutman, A. P., McGregor, V. R., Friend, C. R. L., Bennett, V. C. and Kinny, P. D.: 1996, 'The Itsaq Gneiss Complex of southern West Greenland; the world's most extensive record of early crustal evolution (3900–3600 Ma)', Precamb. Res. 78, 1–39.Google Scholar
  110. Oberbeck, V. R. and Fogleman, G.: 1990, 'Impact constraints on the environment for chemical evolution and the continuity of life', Origin Life Evol. Biosphere 20, 181–195.Google Scholar
  111. Ohmoto, H.: 1996, 'Evidence in pre-2.2 Ga paleosols for the early evolution of atmospheric oxygen and terrestrial biota', Geology 24, 1135–1138.Google Scholar
  112. Oparin, A. I.: 1938, The Origin of Life, MacMillan Publ. Co., New York.Google Scholar
  113. Oro, J.: 1961, 'Comets and the formation of biochemical compounds on the primitive earth', Nature 190, 389–390.Google Scholar
  114. Owen, T. C.: 1998, 'The Origin of the Atmosphere', in Andre Brack (ed.), The Molecular Origins of Life, Cambridge University Press, pp. 13–34.Google Scholar
  115. Perfit, M. R., Fornari, D. J., Malahoff, A. and Embley, R. W.: 1983, 'Geochemical studies of abyssal lavas recovered by DSRV Alvin from eastern Galapagos rift, Inca Transform, and Ecuador rift', J. Geophys. Res. 88(B12), 10,551–10,572.Google Scholar
  116. Polat, A., Kerrich, R. and Wyman, D. A.: 1998, 'The late Archean Schreiber-Hemlo and White River-Dayohessarah greenstone belts, Superior Province: Collages of oceanic plateaus, oceanic arcs, and subduction-accretion complexes', Tectonophysics 289, 295–326.Google Scholar
  117. Polat, A., Kerrich, R. and Wyman, D. A.: 1999, 'Geochemical diversity in oceanic komatiites and basalts from the late Archean Wawa greenstone belts, Superior Province, Canada: Trace element and Nd isotope evidence for a heterogeneous mantle', Precamb. Res. 94, 139–173.Google Scholar
  118. Puchtel, I. S., Zhuravlev, D. Z., Samsonov, A. V. and Arndt, N. T.: 1993, 'Petrology and geochemistry of metamorphosed komatiites and basalts from the Tungurcha greenstone belt, Aldan Shield', Precamb. Res. 62, 399–417.Google Scholar
  119. Puchtel, I. S., Hofmann, A. W., Mezger, K., Shchipansky, A. A., Kulikov, S. and Kulikova, V. V.: 1996, 'Petrology of a 2.41 Ga remarkably fresh komatiitic basalt lava lake in Lion Hills, central Vetreny Belt, Baltic Shield', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 124, 273–290.Google Scholar
  120. Rhodes, J. M.: 1983, 'Homogeneity of lava flows: Chemical data for historic Mauna Loan eruptions', J. Geophys. Res. 88, (Supplement), A869-A879.Google Scholar
  121. Rhodes, J. M.: 1988, 'Geochemistry of the 1984 Mauna Loa eruption: Implications for magma storage and supply', J. Geophys. Res. 93(B5), 4453–4466.Google Scholar
  122. Rhodes, J. M., Rodgers, K. V., Shih, C., Bansal, B. M., Nyquist, L. E., Wiesmann, H. and Hubbard, N. J.: 1974, 'The Relationships Between Geology and Soil Chemistry at the Apollo 17 Landing Site', in Proc. 5th Lunar Sci. Conf., Pergamon Press, pp. 1097–1117.Google Scholar
  123. Rhodes, J. M., Morgan, C. and Liias, R. A.: 1990, 'Geochemistry of axial seamount lavas: Magmatic relationship between the Cobb Hotspot and the Juan de Fuca Ridge', J. Geophys. Res. 95(B8), 12,713–12,733.Google Scholar
  124. Roeder, P. L. and Campbell, I. H.: 1985, 'The effect of postcumulus reactions on composition of chrome-spinels from the Jimberlana intrusion', J. Petrol. 26, 763–786.Google Scholar
  125. Roeder, P. L. and Reynolds, I.: 1991, 'Crystallization of chromite and chromium solubility in basaltic melts', J. Petrology 32, 909–934.Google Scholar
  126. Rubey, W. W.: 1955, 'Development of the hydrosphere and atmosphere, with special reference to probable composition of the early atmosphere', Geol. Soc. Amer. Spec. Paper 62, 631–650.Google Scholar
  127. Rye, R. and Holland, H. D.: 1998, 'Paleosols and the evolution of the atmospheric oxygen: A critical review', Amer. J. Sci. 298, 621–673.Google Scholar
  128. Samsonov, A. V., Chernyshev, I. V., Nutman, A. P. and Compston, W.: 1996, 'Evolution of the Archaean Aulian gneiss complex, Middle Dnieper gneiss-greenstone terrain, Ukrainian Shield: SHRIMP U-Pb zircon evidence', Precamb. Res. 78, 65–78.Google Scholar
  129. Sato, M. and Wright, T. L.: 1966, 'Oxygen fugacities directly measured in magmatic gases', Science 153, 1103–1105.Google Scholar
  130. Schoonen, M. A. A., Xu, Y. and Bebie, J.: 1999, 'Energetics and kinetics of the prebiotic synthesis of simple organic acids and amino acids with the FeS-H2S/FeS2 redox couple as reductant', Origin Life Evol. Biosphere 29, 5–32.Google Scholar
  131. Schopf, J. W.: 1993, 'Microfossils of the Early Archean Apex Chert: New evidence of the antiquity of life', Science 260, 640–646.Google Scholar
  132. Schopf, J. W.: 1999, Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils, Princeton University Press, 367 pp.Google Scholar
  133. Schreiber, H. D. and Haskin, L. A.: 1976, 'Chromium in Basalts: Experimental Determination of Redox States and Partitioning Among Synthetic Silicate Phases', in Proc. 7th Lunar Sci. Conf., Pergamon Press, 1221–1259.Google Scholar
  134. Scowen, P. A. H., Roeder, P. L. and Helz, R. T.: 1991, 'Reequilibration of chromite within Kilauea Iki lava lake, Hawaii', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 107, 8–20.Google Scholar
  135. Shearer, C. K. and Papike, J. J.: 1993, 'Basaltic volcanism on the Moon: A perspective from volcanic picritic glass beads', Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 57, 4785–4812.Google Scholar
  136. Shervais, J. W.: 1982, 'Ti-V plots and petrogenesis of modern and ophiolitic lavas', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 59, 101–118.Google Scholar
  137. Shimizu, N.: 1998, 'The geochemistry of olivine-hosted melt inclusions in a FAMOUS basalt ALV519–4–1', Phys. Earth Planet. Int. 107, 183–201.Google Scholar
  138. Shock, E. L.: 1990, 'Geochemical constraints on the origin of organic compounds in hydrothermal systems', Origin Life Evol. Biosphere 20, 331–367.Google Scholar
  139. Shock, E. L., Amend, J. P. and Zolotov, M. Y.: 1999, 'The Early Earth vs. the Origin of Life', in R. Canup and K. Righter (eds), Origin of the Earth and Moon, Univ. of Arizona Press, pp. 527–543.Google Scholar
  140. Skulski, T., Hynes, A. and Francis, D.: 1988, 'Basic lavas of the Archean La Grande Greenstone belt: Products of polybaric fractionation and crustal contamination', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 100, 236–245.Google Scholar
  141. Sleep, N. H. and Zahnle, K. J.: 1998, 'Refugia from asteroid impacts on early Mars and the early Earth', J. Geophys. Res. 103, 28,529–28,544.Google Scholar
  142. Sleep, N. H., Zahnle, K. J., Kasting, J. F. and Morowitz, H. J.: 1989, 'Annihilation of ecosystems by large asteroid impacts on the early Earth', Nature 342, 139–142.Google Scholar
  143. Sleep, N. H., Zahnle, K. J. and Neuhoff, P. S.: 2001, 'Initiation of clement surface conditions on the earliest Earth', Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98, 3666–3672.Google Scholar
  144. Smith, H. S., Erlank, A. J. and Duncan, A. R.: 1980, 'Geochemistry of some ultramafic komatiite lava flows from the Barberton Mountain Land, South Africa', Precamb. Res. 11, 399–415.Google Scholar
  145. Smith, J. V., Anderson, A. T., Newton, R. C., Olsen, E. J., Wyllie, P. J., Crewe, A. V., Isaacson, M. S. and Johnson, D.: 1970, 'Petrologic History of the Moon Inferred from Petrography, Mineralogy, and Petrogenesis of Apollo 11 Rocks', in Proc.Apollo 11 Lunar Sci. Conf., Pergamon Press, pp. 897–925.Google Scholar
  146. Stern, R. A., Percival, J. A. and Mortensen, J. K.: 1994, 'Geochemical evolution of the Minto block: a 2.7 Ga continental magmatic arc built on the Superior proto-craton', Precamb. Res. 65, 115–153.Google Scholar
  147. Stevenson, D. J.: 1983, 'The Nature of the Earth Prior to the Oldest Known Rock Record: The Hadean Earth', in J. W. Schopf (ed.), Earth's Earliest Biosphere: Its Origin and Evolution, Princeton University Press, pp. 32–40.Google Scholar
  148. Stone, W. E., Crocket, J. H., Dickin, A. P. and Fleet, M. E.: 1995, 'Origin of Archean ferropicrites: geochemical constraints from the Boston Creek Flow, Abitibi greenstone belt, Ontario, Canada', Chem. Geol. 121, 51–71.Google Scholar
  149. Symonds, R. B., Rose, W. I., Bluth, G. J. S. and Gerlach, T. M.: 1994, in M. R. Carrol and J. R. Holloway (eds), Volatiles in Magmas, Mineral. Soc. Amer., pp. 1–66.Google Scholar
  150. Tilling, R. I., Wright, T. L. and Millard Jr., H. T.: 1987, 'Trace-element chemistry of Kilauea and Mauna Loa lava in space and time: A reconnaissance', in USGS Prof. Paper 1350, Vol. 1, Chap. 24, 641–689.Google Scholar
  151. Tomlinson, K. Y., Stevenson, R. K., Hughes, D. J., Hall, R. P., Thurston, P. C. and Henry, P.: 1998, 'The Red Lake greenstone belt, Superior Province: Evidence of plume-related magmatism at 3 Ga and evidence of an older enriched source', Precamb. Res. 89, 59–76.Google Scholar
  152. Ulmer, G. C.: 1974, 'Alteration of chromite during serpentinization in the Pennsylvania-Maryland District', Amer. Mineral. 59, 1236–1241.Google Scholar
  153. Vogel, D. C., Vuollo, J. I., Alapieti, T. T. and James, R. S.: 1998, 'Tectonic, stratigraphic, and geochemical comparisons between ca. 2500–2440 Ma mafic igneous events in the Canadian and Fennoscandian Shields', Precamb. Res. 92, 89–116.Google Scholar
  154. Walker, J. C. G.: 1982, 'The earliest atmosphere of the Earth', Precamb. Res. 17, 147–171.Google Scholar
  155. Walker, J. C. G.: 1990, in H. E. Newsom and J. H. Jones (eds), Origin of the Earth, Oxford University Press, pp. 371–375.Google Scholar
  156. Wanke, H. and Dreibus, G.: 1986, 'Geochemical Evidence for the Formation of the Moon by Impact-Induced Fission of the Proto-Earth', in W. K. Hartmann, R. J. Phillips and G. J. Taylor (eds), Origin of the Moon, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, pp. 649–672.Google Scholar
  157. Whitfield, M. and Turner, D. R.: 1979, 'Water-rock partition coefficients and the composition of seawater and river water', Nature 278, 132–137.Google Scholar
  158. Whitford, D. J. and Arndt, N. T.: 1978, 'Rare earth element abundances in a thick, layered komatiite lava flow from Ontario, Canada', Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 41, 188–196.Google Scholar
  159. Wilde, S. A., Valley, J.W., Peck, W. H. and Graham, C.M.: 2001, 'Evidence from detrital zircons for the existence of continental crust and oceans on the Earth 4.4 Gyr ago', Nature 409, 175–178.Google Scholar
  160. Wilkinson, J. F. G. and Hensel, H. D.: 1988, 'The petrology of some picrites from Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes, Hawaii', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 98, 326–345.Google Scholar
  161. Wilson, A. H.: 1982, 'The geology of the Great 'Dyke', Zimbabwe: The ultramafic rocks', J. Petrol. 23, 240–292.Google Scholar
  162. Wilson, A. H., Versfeld, J. A. and Hunter, D. R.: 1989, 'Emplacement, crystallization and alteration of spinifex-textured komatiitic basalt flows in the Archaean Nondweni greenstone belt, southern Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa'. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 101, 301–317.Google Scholar
  163. Wright, T. L.: 1971, 'Chemistry of Kilauea and Mauna Loa Lava in Space and Time', USGS Prof. Paper 735, 40 p.Google Scholar
  164. Wright, T. L. and Peck, D. L.: 1978, 'Crystallization and Differentiation of the Alae Magma, Alae Lava Lake, Hawaii', USGS Prof. Paper 935-C, 20 p.Google Scholar
  165. Wyman, D. A.: 1999, 'A 2.7 Ga depleted tholeiite suite: evidence of plume-arc interaction in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Canada', Precamb. Res. 97, 27–42.Google Scholar
  166. Zachariah, J. K., Rajamani, V. and Hanson, G. N.: 1997, 'Petrogenesis and source characteristics of metatholeiites from the Archean Ramagiri schist belt, eastern part of Dharwar craton, India', Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 129, 87–104.Google Scholar
  167. Zahnle, K. J. and Sleep, N. H.: 1996, 'Impacts and the Early Evolution of Life', in P. J. Thomas, C. F. Chyba, and C. P. McKay (eds), Comets and the Origin and Evolution of Life, Springer, New York, pp. 175–208.Google Scholar
  168. Zhou, M.-F. and Kerrich, R.: 1992, 'Morphology and composition of chromite in komatiites from the Belingwe greenstone belt, Zimbabwe', Canad. Mineral. 30, 303–317.Google Scholar
  169. Zolotov, M. Y. and Shock, E. L.: 2000, 'A thermodynamic assessment of the potential synthesis of condensed hydrocarbons during cooling and dilution of volcanic gases', J. Geophys. Res. 105(B1), 539–559.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Delano
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, New York Center for Studies on the Origins of LifeThe University at Albany (SUNY)AlbanyU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations