In the Archean (4.0-2.5 Ga), Earth's surface was very different from today's: There was abundant volcanism, a probably smaller continental surface with strongly reduced shelf space, higher heat flow and surface temperatures, overall reducing surface conditions, Moon circling Earth in a closer orbit, more intense chemical weathering, different sediment transport patterns, and a significantly higher UV radiation flux, to name a few. We know very little about weather and climate. In addition, Earth was more frequently impacted by major meteorites. Altogether, these were seemingly unlikely circumstances for life to begin and to spread, and yet it happened, and apparently rather successfully so, even in the Archean.
This workshop is directed at all those interested in exploring those aspects of the Archean which contributed to make Earth habitable. In one afternoon and one morning session (March 28/29), we will study in hands-on workshops analytical data, hand samples, posters and thin sections which provide key information to constrain the environments of early life. In the lectures, we will discuss the major controversies and highlight the many uncertainties in our understanding of this critical time period.
Contact: Christoph Heubeck
Department of Geosciences
General and Historical Geology