The expanding network of mineral chemistry throughout earth history reveals global shifts in crustal chemistry during the Proterozoic

Eli K. Moore, Josh J. Golden, Shaunna M. Morrison, Jihua Hao, Stephanie J. Spielman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Earth surface redox conditions are intimately linked to the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere. Minerals provide a record of Earth’s evolving surface and interior chemistry in geologic time due to many different processes (e.g. tectonic, volcanic, sedimentary, oxidative, etc.). Here, we show how the bipartite network of minerals and their shared constituent elements expanded and evolved over geologic time. To further investigate network expansion over time, we derive and apply a novel metric (weighted mineral element electronegativity coefficient of variation; wMEECV) to quantify intra-mineral electronegativity variation with respect to redox. We find that element electronegativity and hard soft acid base (HSAB) properties are central factors in mineral redox chemistry under a wide range of conditions. Global shifts in mineral element electronegativity and HSAB associations represented by wMEECV changes at 1.8 and 0.6 billion years ago align with decreased continental elevation followed by the transition from the intermediate ocean and glaciation eras to post-glaciation, increased atmospheric oxygen in the Phanerozoic, and enhanced continental weathering. Consequently, network analysis of mineral element electronegativity and HSAB properties reveal that orogenic activity, evolving redox state of the mantle, planetary oxygenation, and climatic transitions directly impacted the evolving chemical complexity of Earth’s crust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4956
JournalScientific Reports
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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