Public profile

Prof Martin Van Kranendonk
Director ACA; Head of School, BEES
Phone: 
+61(2) 9385 2439
Fax: 
+61(2) 9385 1558
Postal Address: 
School of Biological and Earth and Environmental Sciences University of NSW Kensington, 2033 New South Wales, Australia
Research: 

 

1) Climate and biological change across the Archean-Proterozoic boundary, 2.5-2.2 Ga

Perhaps the most complete and best exposed geological section across the transition from early, reducing Earth conditions (>2.5 Ga) to more modern, oxidized and cooler Earth (2.2 Ga) – known as the Great Oxidation event, or GOE – is exposed in the southern Pilbara region of Western Australia as the Turee Creek Group. Research on this section to date has uncovered a spectacular section across the GOE transition, from Archean banded iron-formation to Paleoproterozoic glacial diamictites across a transitional unit of jaspilitic- to grey-laminated chert, with conformable contacts that you can put your fingernail on (Photo 1). We are currently investigating the nature of this transitional unit in detail through geochemical analysis, Fe isotopes, and redox-sensitive elements (Mo and PGE). A more expanded section has also been found in which the transition is manifest as eight cherts interbedded with iron-formations that grade to shale.

The rest of the Turee Creek Group is also under detailed investigation, particularly in regards to its sedimentology and geochemistry. Preliminary results clearly indicate at least two, and possibly three, glacial cycles, where previously only one had been recorded (Photo 2). Facies analysis indicates that each of the cycles are associated with sealevel drawdown, which can be used to infer that they were global in scope and that major climate change was associated with the rise of atmospheric oxygen.

In addition, we are investigating biological changes across the GOE. We have discovered a well-preserved assemblage of microfossils permineralized in black chert in deepwater carbonates from the upper part of the Turee Creek Group (Photo 3). These microfossils are morphologically and geochemically distinct from photosynthetic cyanobacterial communities of shallow-water stromatolites. Given the deep water setting and through comparison with modern analogues, we are able to conclude that these represent a sublittoral sulfuretum (sulfur-cycling community) – the first to be recorded in the geological record.

Collaborators: Pascal Philippot (Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris); Clark Johnson (U. Wisconsin-Madison); Ken Williford (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); Kliti Grice and Anais Pages (Curtin University); Malcolm Walter and Rajat Mazumder (UNSW); Bill Schopf (UCLA); Aivo Lepland (Geol. Survey Norway).

MVK Research Project 1

 

2) Planetary Driver of Environmental Change

The Earth has evolved dramatically over time, from a hot, molten ball (magma ocean) immediately following the giant Moon-forming Impact at c. 4.5 Ga, to the cool planet of today with a dozen or so large tectonic plates that are created at mid-ocean ridges and partly recycled back into the mantle across steep subduction zones. My research on early Earth has suggested that this “modern” (i.e. steep) style of subduction commenced at c. 3.1 Ga, due to a crossover point in time when the amount of conductive heat emanating from the mantle first declined to values beneath the capacity of the crust to lose that heat. This allowed the tectonic plates to grow and to cool and thicken away from mid-oceanic ridges, resulting in the onset of steep subduction (through plate sinking).

Ongoing research into the proposed Mesoarchean change in the tectonic style of the planet includes:

  • Analysis of geochemical proxies of subduction through time, specifically high field strength elements in magmatic rocks, and oxygen and Hf isotopes in zircons. Preliminary results show that onset of steep subduction is accompanied by the start of the supercontinent cycle, which evolved and changed over time, peaking at c. 1 Ga and declining in intensity thereafter (Fig. 1).
  • Analysis of a proposed Paleoarchean suture zone in South Africa, where high-P metamorphic mineral assemblages have been used to infer a suture zone. Detailed mapping in 2012 will be combined with geochronology and geochemistry to test this claim. Preliminary results suggest a more complex situation than previously reported.
  • Analysis of oxygen isotopes in zircons from dated samples from Pilbara, Western Australia. Samples were specifically identified to test the subduction-accretion model developed for this area. Preliminary results show evidence for both high and low oxygen isotope values in zircons dated at exactly the age identified independently for subduction and accretion of the West Pilbara Superterrane, and not from zircons of any other age.

Collaborators: Chris Kirkland (Geol. Survey Western Australia); John Cliff (U. Western Australia)

Figure 1: Schematic diagram of Earth evolution through time, showing steps in crustal growth following on from pulses of mantle heat arising from the aftermath of subduction avalanches during supercontinent amalgamation that were accompanied by changes to Earth tessellation (T1-T4).

 

3) The North Pole volcanic caldera: habitat of Earth’s oldest stromatolites

The North Pole Dome in the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, is famous for hosting Earth’s oldest stromatolites within a well-preserved succession of sedimentary and volcanic rocks of the Dresser Formation, Warrawoona Group. Research has indicated a link between life and hydrothermal vents that formed at the tips of growth faults developed within an active volcanic caldera. However, only a small part of the formation has been mapped in detail and it is not known whether life is solely restricted to vent environments or is more broadly spread and possibly even diverse. Ongoing mapping at North Pole will document the life signatures preserved in this unique environment in 4-D and unravel the series of events within the caldera, number of hydrothermal circulation cells andvariations along and across strike in the chemistry of the system.

Figure 2: a) Zoned hydrothermal barite-chert vein: b) Hydrothermal barite curling over stromatolite at vent mouth; c) wrinkly laminated and domical stromatolites; d) diagenetic barite in silicified carbonate; e) hydrothermally-altered pillow basalt (now kaolinite) in caldera footwall. 

 

Collaborators: Ian Graham and Malcolm Walter (UNSW), Franco Pirajno (Geol. Survey Western Australia)

 

4) Crust formation and tectonics of the Archean Yilgarn Craton.

The Archean Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia is widely considered to have formed primarily through accretion of a series of Neoarchean terranes (now the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane) onto an older (Mesoarchean) foreland (Youanmi Terrane). However, new data from the Youanmi Terrane and analysis of ultramafic-mafic volcanic components of the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane show a commonality of events and compositions across so-called terrane boundaries, throwing into question the subduction-accretion model of crust formation. Together with colleagues at the Geological Survey of Western Australia and CSIRO, we are pursuing this new research front through continued mapping and geoscience analysis, including interpretation of seismic refraction lines across the Youanmi Terrane and geochemical modelling.

Collaborators: Tim Ivanic, Ivan Zibra, Stephen Wyche, Chris Kirkland (Geol. Survey Western Australia), Steve Barnes (CSIRO).

 

MVK4

Figure 3: Schematic evolutionary model of Yilgarn Craton development in the Neoarchean.

5) Precambrian timescale

As chair of the Precambrian Subcommission of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, I am developing the rationale for, and implementing, a revised Precambrian timescale based on the actualistic rock record (GSSPs) rather than chronometric divisions. This has involved a whole-scale review of Precambrian tectonics and biological evolution, as summarised in a chapter for the newly published Elsevier book “The Geologic Time Scale 2012”. Current work is focussing on the formal establishment of a Hadean Eon, followed by a revised Archean-Proterozoic boundary.

 

Proposed Precambrian Timescale

Figure 4: Suggested divisions of a new Precambrian timescale.

 

Published papers and papers in prep.

 

1) Archean-Proterozoic transition

Pagès, A., Grice, K., Jahnert, R., Collins, L., Vacher, M., Summons, R. Teasdale, P.R., Welsh, D.T., Lockhart, R., Cleverley, J., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Greenwood, P. (in prep.). A recent glimpse of the ancient past: abiotic sulfurisation of a modern microbial ecosystem. Science

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Mazumder, R. (in prep.): Two, or possibly three, global Paleoproterozoic glaciations: Stratigraphic evidence from the Turee Creek Group, Western Australia. Geology.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Williford, K., Lepland, A., Mazumder, R. (in prep.): Caught in the act: The transition from early, reducing Earth to more modern, oxidized Earth at ~2.4 Ga as preserved in the Hamersley and Turee Creek groups of Western Australia. Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Schopf, J.W., Williford, K., Grice, K., Pages, A., Kudryatsev, A.B., Gallardo, V.A., Espinoza, C., Ushikubo, T., Kitajima, K., Lepland, A. Walter, M.R., Yamaguchi, K., Hegner, E., Ikehara, M., Macalady, J., Melendez, I., Flannery, D., Valley, J.W. (in review): A non-photosynthetic microfossil assemblage dating from the rise of atmospheric oxygen. Nature.

Williford, K.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Ushikubo, T., Kozdon, R., Valley, J.W. (2011): Constraining atmospheric oxygen and seawater sulfate concentrations during Paleoproterozoic glaciation: in situ sulfur three-isotope microanalysis of pyrite from the Turee Creek Group, Western Australia. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75, 5686–5705.

 

2) Planetary Driver of Environmental Change

Pease, V., Percival, J., Smithies, R. H., Stevens, G., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2008): When did plate tectonics begin? Evidence from the orogenic record. In: Condie, K.C. and Pease, V. (eds.), When did plate tectonics begin on Earth? Geological Society of America, Special Paper 440, p. 199-228.

Smithies, R.H., Champion, D.C., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Howard, H.M., Hickman, A.H. (2005a): Modern-style subduction processes in the Mesoarchaean: geochemical evidence from the 3.12 Ga Whundo intraoceanic arc. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 231, p. 221-237.

Smithies, R.H., Champion, D.C., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2007): The oldest well-preserved volcanic rocks on Earth: geochemical clues to the early evolution of the Pilbara Supergroup and implications for the growth of a Paleoarchean continent. In: Van Kranendonk, M. J., Smithies, R. H., and Bennet, V. (Eds.), Earth’s Oldest Rocks. Developments in Precambrian Geology 15, p. 339-367. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Smithies, R.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Champion, D.C., (2007): The Mesoarchaean emergence of modern style subduction. In: S. Maruyama and M. Santosh (eds.), Island Arcs: Past and Present; Gondwana Research, v. 11, p. 50-68.

Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2007): Tectonics of early Earth; In: Van Kranendonk, M. J., Smithies, R. H., and Bennet, V. (Eds.), Earth’s Oldest Rocks. Developments in Precambrian Geology 15, p. 1105-1116. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Smithies, R.H., Hickman, A.H., Champion, D.C. (2007): Secular tectonic evolution of Archaean continental crust: interplay between horizontal and vertical processes in the formation of the Pilbara Craton, Australia. Terra Nova, v. 19(1), p. 1-38.

Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2010): Two types of Archean continental crust: plume and plate tectonics on early Earth. American Journal of Science 310, 1187–1209.

Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2011): Onset of plate tectonics. Science 333, 413–414.

Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2011): Cool greenstone drips, hot rising domes, and the role of partial convective overturn in Barberton greenstone belt evolution. Journal of African Earth Sciences 60, 346–352. DOI: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2011.03.012.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Kröner, A., Hegner, E., Connelly, J. (2009): Age, lithology and structural evolution of the c. 3.53 Ga Theespruit Formation in the Tjakastad area, southwestern Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, with implications for Archean tectonics. Chemical Geology 261, 114-138.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Kirkland, C.L. (in review): Orogenic climax of Earth: the 1.2–1.0 Ga Grenvillian Superevent. Geology

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Kirkland, C.L. (in prep.). The stepwise growth of tectonic plates across Earth’s evolving supercontinent cycle. Geology

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Smithies, R.H., Hickman, A.H., Wingate, M.T.D., Bodorkos, S. (2010): Evidence for Mesoarchean (~3.2 Ga) rifting of the Pilbara Craton: The missing link in an early Precambrian Wilson cycle. Precambrian Research 177, 145-161.

Wille, M., Nebel, O., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Schoenberg, R., Kleinhanns, I., Ellwood, M.J. (in review): Mo-Cr isotope evidence for a reducing Archean atmosphere in 3.46–2.76 Ga black shales from Pilbara, Western Australia. Chemical Geology.

3) The North Pole volcanic caldera: habitat of Earth’s oldest stromatolites

Philippot, P., Van Zuilen, M., Lepot, K., Thomazo, C., Farquhar, J., Van Kranendonk, M. (2007): Early Archean microorganisms preferred elemental sulphur, not sulphate. Science, v. 317, p. 1534-1537.

Philippot, P., Van Kranendonk, M., Van Zuilen, M. Lepot, K., Rividi, N., Teitler, Y., Thomazo, C., Blanc-Valleron, M-M., Rouchy, J-M., Grosch, E., de Wit, M. (2009): Early traces of life investigations in drilling Archean hydrothermal and sedimentary rocks of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia and Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa. C. R. Palevol 8, 649-663.

Pirajno, F., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2005): A review of hydrothermal processes and systems on earth and implications for Martian analogues. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 52, p. 329-351.

Pirajno, F., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Xiao, L. (2008): Hydrothermal processes in the solar system: A review. Geological Science and Technology Information, v. 27(1), p. 1–12.

Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2006): Volcanic degassing, hydrothermal circulation and the flourishing of early life on Earth: new evidence from the Warrawoona Group, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Earth-Science Reviews, v. 74, p. 197-240.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Philippot, P., Lepot, K., Bodorkos, S., Pirajno, F. (2008): Geological setting of Earth’s oldest fossils in the c. 3.5 Ga Dresser Formation, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Precambrian Research 167, 93-124.

4) Crust formation and tectonics of the Archean Yilgarn Craton.

Barnes, S., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (in prep.): Generation of Archean andesites through crustal contamination of mantle plume magmas. Nature.

Barnes, S., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Sontag, I. (2012): Geochemistry and tectonic setting of basalts from the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 59, 707–735.

Ivanic, T.J., Wingate, M.T.D., Kirkland, C.L., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Wyche, S. (2010): Age and significance of voluminous mafic–ultramafic magmatic events in the Murchison Domain, Yilgarn Craton. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 57, 597–614.

Ivanic, T.J., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Kirkland, C.L., Wyche, S., Wingate, M.T.D., Belousova, E.A. (2012): Zircon Lu–Hf isotopes and granite geochemistry of the Murchison Domain of the Yilgarn Craton: Evidence for reworking of Eoarchean crust during Meso-Neoarchean plume-driven magmatism. Lithos, 148, 112–127.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Ivanic, T.J., Wingate, M.T.D., Kirkland, C.L., Wyche, S. (in press): Long-lived, autochthonous development of the Archean Murchison Domain, Yilgarn Craton. Precambrian Research.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Barnes, S. (in prep.): No plate tectonics in the formation of Yilgarn Craton. Precambrian Research.

5) Precambrian timescale

Van Kranendonk, M.J., (2012): The Precambrian: the Archean and Proterozoic eons. In: Gradstein, F.M, Ogg, J.G., Schmitz, M.D., Ogg, G.J. (eds.), The Geologic Time Scale 2012; Elsevier, Boston, USA, pp. 313–406.

 

PUBLICATION LIST

Published Books (2)

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Johnston, J. (2009): Discovery trails to Early Earth - A traveller’s Guide to the east Pilbara region of Western Australia. Geological Survey of Western Australia.

Van Kranendonk, M.J., Smithies, R.H., Bennett, V., (Eds.), 2007. Earth’s Oldest Rocks. Developments in Precambrian Geology, Series 15. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1307pp.

Published Papers in International Journals and Books (74)

74)Barnes, S., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Sontag, I. (in press):Geochemical affinity and tectonic setting of basalts from the Eastern Goldfields Superterrane, Yilgarn Craton. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences.

73) Hickman, A.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (in press): Witness to early Earth evolution from the 3.5 to 1.8 Ga geological history of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Episodes.

72) Williford, K.H.,Van Kranendonk, M.J., Ushikubo, T., Kozdon, R., Valley, J.W. (2011): Constraining atmospheric oxygen and seawater sulfate concentrations during Paleoproterozoic glaciation: in situ sulfur three-isotope microanalysis of pyrite from the Turee Creek Group, Western Australia. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75, 5686–5705.

71) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2011): Onset of plate tectonics. Science 333, 413–414.

70) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2011): Cool greenstone drips, hot rising domes, and the role of partial convective overturn in Barberton greenstone belt evolution.Journal of African Earth Sciences 60, 346–352. DOI: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2011.03.012.

69) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2011): Stromatolite morphology as an indicator of biogenicity for Earth’s oldest fossils from the 3.5-3.4 Ga Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. In:Advances in Stromatolite Geobiology, edited by J. Reitner, N-V. Queric, and G. Arp.Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences, v. 131, Spiinger, Germany, pp. 517–534.

68) Ivanic, T.J., Wingate, M.T.D., Kirkland, C.L., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Wyche, S. (2010): Age and significance of voluminous mafic–ultramafic magmatic events in the Murchison Domain, Yilgarn Craton. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences57, 597–614.

67) Kirkland, C.L., Whitehouse, M.J., Pease, V., and Van Kranendonk, M.J., 2010b, Erratum: Lithosphere, v. 2, p. 472–475.

66)Kirkland, C.L., Whitehouse, M.J., Pease, V., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2010): Oxygen isotopesin detrital zircons: Insight into crustal recycling during the evolution of the Greenland Shield.Lithosphere 2, 3-12.

65) Sugitani, K., Lepot, K., Mimura, K., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Oehler, D., Walter, M.R. (2010): Biogenicity of morphologically diverse carbonaceous microstructures from the ca. 3400 Ma Strelley Pool Formation, in the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Astrobiology 10, 899–920.

64) Tessalina, S.G., Bourdon, B., Van Kranendonk, M., Birck, J-L., Philippot, P. (2010): Influence of Hadean crust evident in basalts and cherts from the Pilbara Craton. Nature Geoscience 3, 214-217.

63) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2010): Two types of Archean continental crust: plumeand plate tectonics on early Earth. American Journal of Science 310, 1187–1209DOI: 10.2475/10.2010.01

62) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Smithies, R.H., Hickman, A.H., Wingate, M.T.D., Bodorkos, S. (2010): Evidence for Mesoarchean (~3.2 Ga) rifting of the Pilbara Craton: The missing link in an early Precambrian Wilson cycle. Precambrian Research 177, 145-161.

61) Gérard, E., Moreira, D., Philippot, P., Van Kranendonk, M., López-Garcia, P. (2009): Modern subsurface bacteria in pristine 2.7 Ga-old fossil stromatolite drillcore samples from the Fortescue Group, Western Australia. PLoS ONE4(4): e5298. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005298).

60) Philippot, P., Van Kranendonk, M., Van Zuilen, M. Lepot, K., Rividi, N., Teitler, Y., Thomazo, C., Blanc-Valleron, M-M., Rouchy, J-M., Grosch, E., de Wit, M. (2009): Early traces of life investigations in drilling Archean hydrothermal and sedimentary rocks of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia and Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa. C. R. Palevol 8, 649-663.

59) Smithies, R.H. Champion, D. C., Van Kranendonk, M. J. (2009): Formation of Paleoarchean continental crust through infracrustal melting of enriched basalt.Earth and Planetary Science Letters 281, 298-306 (doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2009.03.003).

58) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Kröner, A., Hegner, E., Connelly, J. (2009): Age, lithology and structural evolution of the c. 3.53 Ga Theespruit Formation in the Tjakastad area, southwestern Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, with implications for Archean tectonics. Chemical Geology 261, 114-138.

57) Furnes, H., McLoughlin, N. Muehlenbachs, K., Banerjee, N.R., Staudigel, H., Dilek, Y., de Wit, M., Van Kranendonk, M., Schiffman, P. (2008): Oceanic pillow lavas and hyaloclastites as habitats for microbial life through time – A review. In: Dilek, Y., Furnes, H., Muehlenbachs, K. (eds.), Links between geological processes, microbial activities and evolution of life. Springer-Verlag Book Series, pp. 1-68.

56) McLoughlin, N., Furnes, H., Banerjee, N.R., Staudigel, H., Muehlenbachs, K., de Wit, M., Van Kranendonk, M. (2008): Micro-bioerosion in volcanic glass: Extending the ichnofossil record to Archean basaltic crust. In: Wisshak, M. and Tapinla, L. (eds.), Current Developments in Bioerosion. Springer, Berlin, pp. 372-396.

55) Pease, V., Percival, J., Smithies, R. H., Stevens, G.,Van Kranendonk, M.J.(2008): When did plate tectonics begin? Evidence from the orogenic record. In: Condie, K.C. and Pease, V. (eds.), When did plate tectonics begin on Earth? Geological Society of America, Special Paper 440, p. 199-228.

54) Philippot, P., Van Zuilen, M., Lepot, K., Thomazo, C., Farquhar, J., Van Kranendonk, M. (2008): Response to comment on “Early Archean microorganisms preferred elemental sulphur, not sulphate”. Science, v. 319, p. 1336c-1336d.

53) Pirajno, F.,Van Kranendonk, M.J., Xiao, L. (2008): Hydrothermal processes in the solar system: A review. Geological Science and Technology Information, v. 27(1), p. 1–12.

52) Thébaud, N., Philippot, P., Rey, P., Brugger, J.,Van Kranendonk, M., Grassineau, N. (2008): Protracted fluid-rock interaction in the Mesoarchaean and implication for gold mineralization: Example from the Warrawoona Syncline (Pilbara, Western Australia). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 272, p. 639-655.

51) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Gehling, J., Shields, G. (2008): Precambrian. In: Ogg, J.G., Ogg, G., Gradstein, F. (eds.), The Concise Geological Timescale, p. 23-36. Cambridge University Press.

50) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Philippot, P., Lepot, K., Bodorkos, S., Pirajno, F. (2008): Geological setting of Earth’s oldest fossils in the c. 3.5 Ga Dresser Formation, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Precambrian Research 167, 93-124. doi. 10.1016/j.precamres.2008.07.003.

49) Banerjee, N. R., Simonnetti, A., Furnes, H., Muehlenbachs, K., Staudigel, H., Heaman, L., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2007): Direct dating of Archean microbial ichnofossils. Geology, v. 35, p. 487-490.

48) Bolhar, R., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2007): A non-marine depositional setting for the northern Fortescue Group, Pilbara Craton, inferred from trace element geochemistry of stromatolitic carbonates.Precambrian Research, v. 155, p. 229-250.

47) Furnes, H., Banerjee, N. R., Staudigel, H., Muehlenbachs, K., de Wit, M., Van Kranendonk, M.(2007): Comparing petrographic signatures of bioalteration in recent to Mesoarchean pillow lavas: Tracing subsurface life in oceanic igneous rocks. Precambrian Research, v. 158, p. 156-176.

46) Marshall, C.P., Love, G.D., Snape, C.E., Hill, A.C., Allwood, A.C., Walter, M.R.,Van Kranendonk, M.J., Bowden, S.A., Sylva, S.P., Summons, R.E. (2007): Structural characterization of kerogen in 3.4 Ga Archaean cherts from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Precambrian Research, v. 155, p. 1-23.

45) Philippot, P., Van Zuilen, M., Lepot, K., Thomazo, C., Farquhar, J., Van Kranendonk, M. (2007): Early Archean microorganisms preferred elemental sulphur, not sulphate. Science, v. 317, p. 1534-1537.

44) Smithies, R.H., Champion, D.C.,Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2007): The oldest well-preserved volcanic rocks on Earth: geochemical clues to the early evolution of the Pilbara Supergroup and implications for the growth of a Paleoarchean continent. In: Van Kranendonk, M. J., Smithies, R. H., and Bennet, V. (Eds.),Earth’s Oldest Rocks. Developments in Precambrian Geology 15, p. 339-367. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

43) Smithies, R.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Champion, D.C., (2007): The Mesoarchaean emergence of modern style subduction. In: S. Maruyama and M. Santosh (eds.), Island Arcs: Past and Present; Gondwana Research, v. 11, p. 50-68.

42) Sugitani, K., Grey, K., Allwood, A.C., Nagaoka, T., Minami, M., Marshall, C.P.,Van Kranendonk, M.J., Walter, M.R. (2007): Diverse microstructures from Archean chert from the Mount Goldsworthy – Mount Grant area, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Microfossils, dubiofossils, or pseudofossils? Precambrian Research, v. 158, p. 228-262.

41) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2007): Tectonics of early Earth; In: Van Kranendonk, M. J., Smithies, R. H., and Bennet, V. (Eds.), Earth’s Oldest Rocks. Developments in Precambrian Geology 15, p. 1105-1116. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

40) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2007): A review of the evidence for putative Paleoarchean life in the Pilbara Craton.In: Van Kranendonk, M. J., Smithies, R. H., and Bennet, V. (Eds.), Earth’s Oldest Rocks. Developments in Precambrian Geology 15, p. 855-896. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

39) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Hickman, A., Smithies, R. H. (2007): The East Pilbara Terrane of the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Formation of a continental nucleus through repeated mantle plume magmatism; In: Van Kranendonk, M. J., Smithies, R. H., and Bennet, V. (Eds.), Earth’s Oldest Rocks. Developments in Precambrian Geology 15, p. 307-337. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

38) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Smithies, R.H., Hickman, A.H., Champion, D.C. (2007): Secular tectonic evolution of Archaean continental crust: interplay between horizontal and vertical processes in the formation of the Pilbara Craton, Australia. Terra Nova, v. 19(1), p. 1-38.

37) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2006): Volcanic degassing, hydrothermal circulation and the flourishing of early life on Earth: new evidence from the Warrawoona Group, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Earth-Science Reviews, v. 74, p. 197-240.

36) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Bleeker, W., Ketchum, J. (2006): Phreatomagmatic boulder conglomerates at the fracture propagation tip of the 2.77 Ga Black Range dolerite dyke, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 53, p. 617-630.

35) Bolhar, R., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Kamber, B.S. (2005): A trace element study of siderite-jasper banded iron formation in the 3.45 Ga Warrawoona Group, Pilbara Craton – formation from hydrothermal fluids and shallow seawater. Precambrian Research, v. 137, p. 93-114.

34) Pirajno, F., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2005): A review of hydrothermal processes and systems on earth and implications for Martian analogues.Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 52, p. 329-351.

33) Smithies, R.H., Champion, D.C., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Howard, H.M., Hickman, A.H. (2005a): Modern-style subduction processes in the Mesoarchaean: geochemical evidence from the 3.12 Ga Whundo intraoceanic arc. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 231, p. 221-237.

32) Smithies, R.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Champion, D.C. (2005b): It started with a plume – early Archaean basaltic proto-continental crust.Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 238 (3-4), p. 284-297.

31) Hickman, A.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2004): Diapiric processes in the formation of Archaean continental crust, East Pilbara Granite-Greenstone Terrane, Australia. In: Eriksson, P.G., Altermann, W., Nelson, D.R., Mueller, W.U., Catuneau, O. (eds.), The Precambrian Earth: Tempos and Events. Elsevier, p. 54-75.

30) Pawley, M.J., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Collins, W.J. (2004):Interplay between deformation and magmatism during doming of the Archaean Shaw Granitoid Complex, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia.Precambrian Research, v. 131, p. 213-230.

29) Sandiford, M., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Bodorkos, S. (2004): Conductive incubation and the origin of dome-and-keel structure in Archean granite-greenstone terrains: a model based on the eastern Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Tectonics23, TC1009, DOI: 10.1029/2002TC001452.

28) Van Kranendonk, M.J., (2004): Archaean tectonics 2004: A review.Precambrian Research, v. 131, p. 143-151. doi: 10.1016/j.precamres.2003.12.008

27) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Cassidy, K. (2004): Comment on: “An Alternative Earth”. GSA Today, v. 14, no. 3, p. 14.

26) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Pirajno, F. (2004): Geological setting and geochemistry of metabasalts and alteration zones associated with hydrothermal chert ± barite deposits in the ca. 3.45 Ga Warrawoona Group, Pilbara Craton, Australia. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, v. 4, p. 253-278.

25) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Collins, W.J., Hickman, A.H., Pawley, M.J. (2004): Critical tests of vertical vs horizontal tectonic models for the Archaean East Pilbara Granite-Greenstone Terrane, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia.Precambrian Research, v. 131, p. 173-211.

24) Garcia-Ruiz J.M., Hyde, S.T., Carnerup, A.M., Christy, A.G., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Welham, N.J. (2003): Self-assembled silica-carbonate structures and detection of ancient microfossils. Science, v. 302, p. 1194-1197.

23) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2003): Archaean tectonics in 2001: An Earth odyssey.Precambrian Research, v. 127(1-3), p. 1-4.

22) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Webb, G. E., Kamber, B.S. (2003):Geological and trace element evidence for a marine sedimentary environment of deposition and biogenicity of 3.45 Ga stromatolitic carbonates in the Pilbara Craton, and support for a reducing Archean ocean. Geobiology, v. 1(2), p. 91-108.

21) Brasier, M.D., Green, O.R., Jephcoat, A.P., Kleppe, A.K., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Lindsay, J.F., Steele, A., Grassineau, N. (2002): Questioning the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils. Nature, v. 416, p. 76-81.

20) Huston, D.L., Sun, S-S, Blewett, R.H., Hickman, A.H., Van Kranendonk, M.J.,Phillips, D., Baker, D., Brauhart, C. (2002): The timing of mineralization in the Archaean North Pilbara Terrain, Western Australia. Economic Geology, v. 97 (4),p. 733-756.

19) Pawley, M., Collins, W.J., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (2002): Origin of fine-scale sheeted granites by incremental injection of magma into active shear zones: examples from the Pilbara Craton, NW Australia. Lithos, v. 61 (3-4), p. 127-139.

18) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Hickman, A.H., Smithies, R.H., Nelson, D.N., Pike, G. (2002): Geology and tectonic evolution of the Archaean North Pilbara terrain, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Economic Geology, v. 97 (4), p. 695-732.

17) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Hickman, A.H., Collins, W.J. (2001): Comment on “Evidence for multiphase deformation in the Archaean basal Warrawoona Group in the Marble Bar area, East Pilbara, Western Australia”. Precambrian Research,v. 105, p. 73-78.

16) Collins, W.J., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (1999): Model for the development of kyanite during partial convective overturn of Archaean granite-greenstone terranes: the Pilbara Craton, Australia. Journal of Metamorphic Geology, v. 17, No. 2, p. 145-156.

15) Collins, W.J., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Teyssier, C. (1998): Partial convective overturn of Archaean crust in the east Pilbara Craton, Western Australia: Driving mechanisms and tectonic implications. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 20, p. 1405-1424.

14) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Collins, W.J. (1998): Timing and tectonic significance of Late Archaean, sinistral strike-slip deformation in the Central Pilbara Structural Corridor, Pilbara Craton, Western Australia. Precambrian Research, v. 88, p. 207-232.

13) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Wardle, R.J. (1997): Crustal-scale flexural slip folding during late tectonic amplification of an orogenic boundary perturbation in the Paleoproterozoic Torngat Orogen, NE Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 34, p. 1545-1565.

12) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Wardle, R.J. (1996): Burwell domain of the Paleoproterozoic Torngat Orogen, northeastern Canada: Tilted cross-section of a magmatic arc caught between a rock and a hard place. In: Brewer, T.S. (ed.) Precambrian evolution of the North Atlantic Region; Geological Society Special Publication No. 112, p. 91-115.

11) Wardle, R.J., Van Kranendonk, M.J. (1996): The Eastern Churchill Province of Labrador-Québec, Canada: Orogenic development as a consequence of oblique collision and indentation. In: Brewer, T.S. (ed.) Precambrian Evolution of the North Atlantic Region; Geological Society of London, Special Publication No. 112, p. 137-153.

10) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (1996): Tectonic evolution of the Paleoproterozoic Torngat Orogen; Evidence from P-T-t-d paths in the North River map area, Labrador. Tectonics, v. 15, No. 4, p. 843-869.

9) Van Kranendonk, M.J., St-Onge, M.R., Henderson, J.R. (1993): Paleoproterozoic tectonic assembly of Northeast Laurentia through multiple indentations. Precambrian Research, v. 63, p. 325-347.

8) Bertrand, J.-M., Roddick, J.C., Van Kranendonk, M.J., Ermanovics, I. (1993): U-Pb geochronology of deformation and metamorphism in the Early Proterozoic Torngat Orogen, North River map area, Labrador. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 30, p. 1470-1489.

7) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Helmstaedt, H. (1992): Late Archean structural history of allochthonous Upernavik supracrustal rocks in the high-grade Nain Province, Labrador: Evidence of a link between the tectonic evolution of gneiss terranes and greenstone belts. In: Glover, J.E. and Ho, S.E. (editors) The Archaean: Terrains, Processes and Metallogeny, p. 137-149. Geology Department (Key Centre) and University Extension, The University of Western Australia, Publication No. 22, 1992.

 6) Van Kranendonk, M.J. (1991): A magmatic sheet origin for thin metagabbroic anorthosite units in the Fishog subdomain of the southern Central Gneiss Belt, Grenville Province, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 28, p. 431-446.

5) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Ermanovics, I. (1990): Structural evolution of the Hudsonian Torngat Orogen in the North River map area, Labrador. Geoscience Canada, v.17, no.4, p. 283-288.

4) Van Kranendonk, M.J., Helmstaedt, H. (1990): Late Archean geological history of the Nain Province, North River-Nutak map area, Labrador and its tectonic significance. Geoscience Canada, v.17, no.4, p.231-237.

3) Bertrand, J.-M., Van Kranendonk, M., Hanmer, S., Roddick, J.C., Ermanovics, I. (1990): Structural and metamorphic geochronology of the Torngat Orogen, Labrador: Preliminary results. Geoscience Canada, v.17, no.4, p.297-301.

2) Ermanovics, I., Van Kranendonk, M. (1990): The Nutak - North River transect of Nain and Churchill (E. Rae Terrane) Provinces: the Torngat Orogen. Geoscience Canada, v.17, no.4, p.279-283.

 1) Schwerdtner, W.M., Van Kranendonk, M. (1984): Structure of Stolz diapir ? a well?exposed salt dome on Axel Heiberg Island, Canadian Arctic Archipelago.Bull. Can. Petroleum Geology, v.  32, p. 237?241

Biography: 

My research interest is the early Earth, how it formed, how crust developed on the surface and changed over time, and how life gained a foothold on our developing planet. Specifically, I am interested in how the changing Earth system co-evolved with the biosphere through time. My main field-based research in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

I am a Professor of Geology, with 28 years of mapping and research experience in a variety of structurally complex Precambrian terrains. My main interest is on the early history of the Earth and I have developed an international reputation for my work on Archean tectonics and the geological settings of early life on Earth. More recently, as Chair of the Precambrian Subcommission of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, I have commenced a wholescale review of Precambrian stratigraphy with the aim of revising the Precambrian timescale. My particular skills are mapping and the ability to integrate a wide range of geological data into 4-D models, from the craton to micrometre scale.

            My research on early life has established a connection between the earliest putative fossil remains and low-temperature hydrothermal systems, and recognised that life in the early Archean was already diverse, occupying different niches. Through mapping and collaborative laboratory research, I have developed new and comprehensive geological models for the environments of Earth’s oldest fossils. This research has also helped to establish the biogenicity of ancient fossils, through a wide variety of tests based on field and laboratory studies in collaboration with experts from around the globe. The results have been widely published in major journals and have been used to refine models for the search for life on Mars.

            My research in the Pilbara and Yilgarn cratons of Western Australia has placed me at the forefront of Archean tectonic studies, culminating with the recent publication of a book on “Earth’s Oldest Rocks” (Elsevier, 2007). I have also been guest editor for two special volumes of Precambrian Research (2004), and have authored more than 60 publications in international journals. Specifically, I have helped develop a comprehensive tectonic model for the Archean Pilbara craton over 800 Ma of crustal evolution, and recognised a fundamental change in tectonic processes on earth at c. 3.2 Ga, from vertical-dominated to horizontal-dominated tectonics, including modern-style plate tectonics.

            I am also the Assistant Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, co-leader of IGCP-SIDA Project 599 “The Changing Early Earth”, and Core Member of the International Precambrian Research Centre of China. I am on the editorial boards of Precambrian Research, Geology, Astrobiology, and Episodes.

            I have presented numerous talks at a variety of international specialist and general meetings, both as an invited and keynote speaker, most recently at the European Union of Geosciences meeting in Vienna, and at Goldschmidt2011 in Prague. In 2005, together with Prof. Malcolm Walter (Director, Australian Centre for Astrobiology), I co-organised a field and laboratory workshop on early life on Earth for the international astrobiology community, which was filmed to make a NASA public education outreach program that is available for schools in the USA, UK, Australia, and is online and presented in musea. I have led numerous fieldtrips through the Pilbara Craton for a variety of groups, including the 34th IGC in 2012, 5th International Archean Symposium 2010, and Goldschmidt 2006.

            I have contributed to public outreach through public lectures and contributions to several television documentaries on early Earth, including programs for National Geographic Channel (“Birth of the Earth” in 2005; “Was Darwin Wrong?” in 2006), the BBC (“Atmosphere”, 2008), History Channel (“How life began” in 2007), Discovery Channel (“Making of Continents” in 2006; “Inside Planet Earth” in 2008), and Spanish television.