Here's how the Earth has changed over the past 100 million years
New modeling tool pinpoints past transformations , which will better predict the future.
The model incorporates geodynamics, tectonic and climatic forces , as well as surface processes like the flow of rivers and rivers.
A new digital tool created by French and Australian geoscientists has made it possible to model in unprecedented detail the evolution of the Earth's surface over the past 100 million years.
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The weather, plate tectonics and climate are powerful forces that shape the appearance of the Earth.
Up to today, models of recent geomorphology of the Earth (100 million years) were fragmentary at best, explains in a press release Tristan Salles of the University of Sydney, the first author of this work published in the journal Science(in English).
“To predict the future, we need to understand the past. However, our current geological models provide only a partial understanding of the evolution of the physical characteristics of our planet. ”
— Tristan Salles, University of Sydney
The scientist adds that there was no continuous model of the interaction between river basins, the Global scale erosion and high resolution sediment deposition from millions of years past.
The new high-resolution model (up to 10 kilometers) provides insight for the first time into how today's geophysical landscapes were created and how millions of tons of sediment flowed to the oceans.
< p class="e-p">This model integrates geodynamics, tectonic and climatic forces, as well as surface processes such as the flow of rivers and rivers into million-year-old strata.< /p>
It captures the dynamics of sediment transfer from the land to the oceans in a way that we have never been able to do before, says Laurent Husson, of the Institut des Sciences de la Terre in Grenoble.
This new portrait of the flow of terrestrial sediments towards marine environments helps to explain the current chemistry of the oceans, adds Tristan Salles.
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- Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago (at the same time as the solar system);
- At first, its surface was mostly made up of partially or totally molten rocks, which then solidified;
- Liquid water would have appeared on its surface barely 100 million years after its formation.
As ocean chemistry is rapidly changing due to human-induced climate change, having a complete picture can help us understand the changing marine environments, notes Tristan Salles.
“Our results provide scientists in other fields with a dynamic context and detailed to prepare and test hypotheses, for example in the field of biochemical cycles or biological evolution.
—Tristan Salles from the University of Sydney
In addition, the model will allow scientists to investigate several hypotheses regarding how the landscape of the Earth will respond to climate change. x27;evolution of tectonic and climatic factors.
The model also offers a better understanding of the role of sediment movement in the carbon cycle over millions of years.