Geochemical Evolution of Earth’s Continental Crust

C. Brenhin Keller

Princeton University, 2016:

Ph.D. Dissertation. Advisor: Blair Schoene

Earth’s unique continental crust represents the active interface between the deep earth and the surface earth system, and is crucial for the survival and diversification of life on Earth, both as a source for nutrients and a component in the silicate weathering feedback that stabilizes Earth’s equable climate on billion-year timescales. However, many open questions remain regarding the formation and secular temporal evolution of Earth’s crust – in part due to the extremely poorly-mixed nature of Earth’s continental crust such that compositional heterogeneity at any one point in geologic time typically dwarfs any systematic variation over time. New computational approaches enabled by the emergence of large, freely accessible geochemical datasets provide a way to see through this heterogeneity and extract quantitative information about underlying processes and variables that drive the evolution of Earth’s crust over geologic time.

Suggested citation:
Keller, C.B. (2016). Geochemical Evolution of Earth’s Continental Crust. Doctoral dissertation, Princeton University, Princeton NJ. 184 pp. doi: 10.31237/