An illustration showing volcanic activity and meteorite impacts on Earth during the Hadean, 4 billion years ago.
During the Hadean, more than 4 billion years ago, a liquid water ocean, volcanic activity, and meteorite impacts acted together to fashion the surface of early Earth. Credit: Anastassia Borisova

Illustrating Early Earth

“In the almost complete absence of early crustal rocks, scientists have thus had to piece together their hypotheses from indirect evidence,” write Anastassia Y. Borisova and Anne Nédélec in their research update. Much like scientists investigating exoplanets millions of light years away, scientists who study the interior of Earth and how it formed are working largely in the dark.

Our March issue highlights the work of these scientists. Borisova and Nédélec offer “A Simple Recipe for Making the First Continental Crust,” describing the creative approaches they’ve taken to develop a model that explains its origins—and potentially Mars’s crust as well.

The Young Earth Under the Cool Sun” looks at another problem of Earth formation—how to explain why the planet didn’t freeze before solar fusion was kicking into high gear. Researchers are looking all over the universe for an answer—from exoplanet cousins with their own faint young stars, to our Mars and Venus neighbors, and even to Moon rocks that Apollo astronauts collected and brought home. One thing we can tell you: Don’t call it a paradox.

This research on deep-time questions often requires very specialized labs with very expensive equipment. So what happens when the head of the lab retires or moves on to other opportunities? It’s an issue that most institutions across all disciplines deal with, but we look specifically at the case of argon-argon labs and how they’re handling questions of succession and avoiding the loss of productive labs in a relatively small field. See what you might take away in “Long-Term Planning for Deep-Time Labs.”

Finally, we want to thank Anastassia Y. Borisova for the beautiful artwork on the cover (and at the top of this post) and featured with her article. An innovative scientific thinker who can share her research eloquently in writing and painting? Eos is the place for you!

Would you like to share your research in Eos, too? Submit a brief proposal telling us what you’d like to write about. When we accept proposals, writers work with our editors, who are experts in science communication techniques that will help you compose an informative article for colleagues, as well as an engaging lesson for the broader public who come to every day to learn about the wide world of Earth and space science from you.

See you next month!

—Heather Goss (@heathermg), Editor in Chief, Eos

Citation: Goss, H. (2022), How to work in the dark on deep timeEos, 103, Published on 22 February 2022.
Text © 2022. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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