[BARB 1] BARBERTON 1 - Barberton Drilling Project: Peering into the Cradle of Life

ICDP-Topics:
Paleoclimate
Element Cycles


Year of Application: 2009

Expedition ID: 5047

Current Status: completed

Africa
Archean
BARBERTON
BARBERTON_C
Barberton cradle of life
Composition of ocean and athmosphere
Habitat of early life
ICDP-2009/01
Komatiite
Sediment
South africa
Surface processes
Volcanic
Master Data

Prof. Dr. Michael Bau (PI)
Dr. Ute Weckmann (PI)
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Brey (PI)
Prof. Dr. Michael Meyer (PI)
Prof. Dr. Uwe Reimold (PI)
Prof. Dr. Christoph Heubeck (PI)

Prof. Dr. Oliver Ritter (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Katja Pesch (Farber) (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Sonja Aulbach (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Jörg Peter Fritz (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Joerg Erzinger (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Phillip Rammensee (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Alice Montinaro (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Klaus Heide (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Annika Dziggel (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Heinrich Bahlburg (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Harald Strauß (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Jörg Ebbing (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Ulrich Harms (OSG)
Ronald Conze (OSG)

Projektstart: 1 July, 2011
Projektdauer: 13
Geologisches Alter: Archean

Latitude: 25°54'25''S
Kontinente:

Africa

Regionen & Städte:

Barbeton

Longitude: 31°6'19''E
Länder:

South Africa

Themen:

continental
hard rock

objective

Our aim is to investigate conditions on the early Earth functioned and particularly those in which life emerged and evolved. Through the investigation of cores recovered through shallow drilling in the sedimentary and volcanic sequences of the 3.5 to 3.2 Ga Barberton belt, we will address the following issues - Sedimentological and geochemical investigations of clastic sedimentary rocks will provide information on erosion, transport and deposition under Archean conditions beneath an aggressive atmosphere and of vegetation-free land surfaces - Studies of well-preserved tidal sequences will place constraints on the dynamics of the Earth-Moon system - Investigation of spherule layers, believed to be composed of impact glasses, will provide information about meteorite flux - Petrological and chemical studies of komatiites will provide information about the temperature and geodynamic activity in the Archean mantle - Analysis of zones affected by hydrothermal alteration in the volcanic series will be used to establish the composition and structure of Archean oceanic crust, and the manner in which it interacted with Archean ocean waters - Geochemical and stable isotope studies of cherts and silicified volcanic and sedimentary rocks will be used to determine the temperature and composition of Archean ocean waters - Microbiological studies of recovered core will be used to characterize the modern deep biosphere beneath the Archean greenstone terrane - A combination of micropaleontology, biochemistry and biogeochemistry will be used to search for and characterize traces of early life in the sedimentary and volcanic rocks.

Drilling Data

Drilling Depth: 2874.0
Core Yield:
Core Length:
Amount of Drill Holes: 5
Amount of Drill Locations: 5

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio:
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio:

Related DFG-Projects

[Heubeck] Facies analysis of the Mapepe Foreland Basin, Barberton Greenstone Belt, by well-to-well correlation (2014 - 2018)


[Reimold] Spherule layers in the 2011 ICDP drilling in the Barberton Mountain Land: Early impact record on Earth (2013 - 2016)


[Brey] A multiple isotope and trace element approach to constrain the oxygenation and metal cycling of 3.5 to 3.2 Ga paleo-oceans (2011 - 2017)


[Dziggel] Processes of hydrothermal alteration in early Archaean oceanic crust (2011 - 2016)


[Strauß] Peering into the Cradle of Life: multiple sulphur isotopes reveal insights into environmental conditions and early sulphur metabolism some 3.5 Ga ago (2010 - 2016)


[Reimold] Timely sample acquisition of Archean spherule layers from the 2011 ICDP drilling in the Barberton Mountain Land: Early impact record on Earth (2012 - 2014)


[Heubeck] Drilling Earth's early surface environments: Moodies Group, Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa (2008 - 2010)


[Strauß] Peering into the Cradle of Life: multiple sulphur isotopes reveal insights into environmental conditions and early sulphur metabolism some 3.5 Ga ago (2012 - 2016)


[Strauß] Peering into the Cradle of Life: multiple sulphur isotopes reveal insights into environmental conditions and early sulphur metabolism some 3.5 Ga ago (2013 - 2016)


[Brey] A multiple isotope and trace element approach to constrain the oxygenation and metal cycling of 3.5 to 3.2 Ga paleo-oceans (2014 - 2017)


[Dziggel] Processes of hydrothermal alteration in early Archaean oceanic crust (2014 - 2016)


Description

The Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa is one of the best-preserved successions of mid-Archean (3.5-3.2 Ga) supracrustal rocks in the world, and, as such, it is a remarkable natural laboratory where conditions and processes at the surface of the Archean Earth can be studied in detail. Despite generally good outcrop, nowhere in the Barberton belt are complete field sections preserved, and crucial features such as the contacts of lava flows and continuous successions of critical sedimentary rock sequences are not exposed. Only through diamond drilling will it be possible to obtain the continuous sections and relatively unaltered samples through the volcano-sedimentary successions. Two main targets have been identified. (1) Sedimentary sequences, which will provide information about erosion and sedimentation on the early Earth, the composition and temperature of Archean seawater, and one possible site where life may have emerged and evolved. Study of tidal sequences will provide information about the dynamics of the Earth-Moon system, and the investigation of spherule layers (including impact debris) provide information about the nature and magnitude of meteorite impacts on the early Earth. (2) Successions of ultramafic to felsic volcanic rocks, which will provide new insights into volcanic processes, dynamics of the crust and mantle, interaction between oceanic volcanic crust and the hydrosphere and biosphere. The sources of hydrothermal fluids on the ocean floor, driven by circulation of seawater through the volcanic pile, constitute a second habitat of early life. The project is supported by scientists from 13 countries in five continents and by the mineral exploration industry. The choice of targets, drilling strategies and scientific goals were discussed in detail during planning meetings held in Johannesburg (October 2006), San Francisco (December 2006) and Berlin (March 2007) and during a one-week field conference in the Barberton belt in September 2007. The drilling of a series of shallow (150 to 800m) holes is planned for late 2009 or early 2010 and drill core will be available for distribution six months later. The drilling will be conducted using a standard rig and conventional technology under the supervision of experienced geologists from South African universities and mineral exploration companies. Local logistics will be handled by local geologists in cooperation with staff from the Council of Geosciences. The distribution of samples and post-drilling research will be coordinated by a steering committee comprising representatives from all major participating countries.

Related Publications

Agangi, Andrea, Hofmann, Axel, Eickmann, Benjamin, Marin-Carbonne, Johanna (2019). "Mesoarchaean Gold Mineralisation in the Barberton Greenstone Belt: A Review" The Archaean Geology of the Kaapvaal Craton, Southern Africa Book chapter 7 p171-184


Mohr-Westheide, T., Greshake, A., Wirth, R., Reimold, W. U. (2018). "Transmission electron microscopy of impact-generated platinum group element alloys from Barberton spherule layers: New clues to their formation" Meteoritics & Planetary Science 53 p1516-1536


Rammensee, Philipp (2017). "A multiple isotope and trace element approach to constrain the oxygenation and metal cycling of 3.5 to 3.2 Ga paleo-oceans" Dissertation


Fritz, Jörg, Tagle, Roald, Ashworth, Luisa, Schmitt, Ralf Thomas, Hofmann, Axel, Luais, Béatrice, Harris, Phillip D., Hoehnel, Desirée, Özdemir, Seda, Mohr‐Westheide, Tanja, Koeberl, Christian (2016). "Nondestructive spectroscopic and petrochemical investigations of Paleoarchean spherule layers from the ICDP drill core BARB5, Barberton Mountain Land, South Africa" Meteoritics & Planetary Science 51 p2441-2458


Pesch (Farber), Katja (2016). "Processes of seafloor hydrothermal alteration in the Archaean oceanic crust of the Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa" Dissertation p191


Mohr-Westheide, Tanja, Reimold, Wolf U, Fritz, Jörg, Koeberl, Christian, Salge, Tobias, Hofmann, Axel, Schmitt, Ralf T (2015). "Discovery of extraterrestrial component carrier phases in Archean spherule layers: Implications for estimation of Archean bolide sizes" Geology 43 p299-302


Farber, Katja, Dziggel, Annika, Meyer, F. Michael, Prochaska, Walter, Hofmann, Axel, Harris, Chris (2015). "Fluid inclusion analysis of silicified Palaeoarchaean oceanic crust – A record of Archaean seawater?" Precambrian Research 266 p150-164


Montinaro, Alice (2015). "Paleoarchean Sulfur Cycling and Environmental Conditions revealed by Multiple Sulfur Isotopes" Dissertation


Montinaro, Alice, Strauss, Harald, Mason, Paul R. D., Roerdink, Desiree, Münker, Carsten, Schwarz-Schampera, Ulrich, Arndt, Nicholas T., Farquhar, James, Beukes, Nicolas J., Gutzmer, Jens, Peters, Marc (2015). "Paleoarchean sulfur cycling: Multiple sulfur isotope constraints from the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa" Precambrian Research 267 p311-322


Koeberl, Christian, Schulz, Toni, Reimold, W. Uwe (2015). "Remnants of Early Archean Impact Deposits on Earth: Search for a Meteoritic Component in the BARB5 and CT3 Drill Cores (Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa)" Procedia Engineering 103 p310-317


Farber, Katja, Dziggel, Annika, Trumbull, Robert B., Meyer, F. Michael, Wiedenbeck, Michael (2015). "Tourmaline B-isotopes as tracers of fluid sources in silicified Palaeoarchaean oceanic crust of the Mendon Formation, Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa" Chemical Geology p134-147


Aulbach, S., Luchs, T., Brey, G. P. (2014). "Distribution and behaviour during metasomatism of PGE–Re and Os isotopes in off-craton mantle xenoliths from Namibia" Lithos p478-490